When can I access my super?
The age you're eligible to access your super depends on which year you were born, with the earliest being 55 years old. Here's when (and how) you can access your super.
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You must meet a condition of release
In order to access your super in Australia, you must first meet a condition of release. These are the main conditions of release:
- Condition 1: You've reached your preservation age (more on this below) and retired
- Condition 2: You've reached your preservation age and changed your employment in order to start a transition to retirement pension
- Conditions 3: You've turned 65
Note that you only need to meet one of these conditions, not all, to be able to access your super. Let's take a look at these in more detail.
Condition 1: You've reached your preservation age and retired
What's my preservation age?
Your preservation age is the age at which you can access super if you have retired. Your preservation age is calculated based on when you were born, as outlined in the table below:
|Date of birth||Preservation age|
|Before 1 July 1960||55|
|1 July 1960–30 June 1961||56|
|1 July 1961–30 June 1962||57|
|1 July 1962–30 June 1963||58|
|1 July 1963–30 June 1964||59|
|From 1 July 1964||60|
So if you were born after 1964, you'll need to wait until you're 60 and also retired to access your super. Note that if you pan to retire and access your super at this age, your intention to retire must be genuine and your super fund will likely get you to sign a declaration on this.
Condition 2: You've reached your preservation age and began a transition to retirement pension
If you've reached your preservation age and want to start accessing your super without having to retire, you can start a transition to retirement pension instead.
This involves speaking with your super fund and transferring some of your balance into an account-based pension that you can access. The rest of your balance stays in your super fund.
This allows you to continue to work, or reduce your hours and work part time, while starting to access some of your super as a way of easing into retirement. While this can be a useful way to supplement your income, keep in mind that the sooner you start accessing the sooner it will be gone. See if you've got enough money to retire by checking out guide on this.
Condition 3: You're aged 65 or older
Once you turn 65 you can access your super with or without needing to retire. This is because turning 65 is a condition of release in itself - you only need to retire if you're planning to access your super before you turn 65.
You have the choice of receiving your super as one lump sum payout, or setting up an account-based pension and receiving a portion of your balance each year like a salary.
Can I access my super without meeting a condition of release?
If you don't meet one of the above conditions of release, it's very difficult to access your super. However, there are some situations when you can be grated early release of your super. These grounds include:
On compassionate grounds
You can make a claim for an early superannuation release on one or more of the following compassionate grounds:
- Medical treatment
- Medical treatment
- Mortgage assistance
- Home or motor vehicle modifications
- Palliative care
- Funeral assistance
This is to stop the sale of your house, or to pay medical, disability, or funeral expenses.
Severe financial hardship
If you are experiencing financial hardship and have been receiving income support from Centrelink for at least 26 weeks, you may be able to access your super early by contacting your superannuation directly.
Balance is less than $200
If you changed jobs and the contributions you have made is less than $200, then you will be granted access. Likewise is true if you have found your lost account with a balance of less than $200.
Permanent disability and death
Death and permanent incapacity can also allow you access; provided that you have complete medical proof that you will be unable to work again.
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