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  • Early access to your super

    There are very limited circumstances when you can access your super early. These circumstances are mainly related to specific medical conditions or severe financial hardship.

    Be aware that some promoters claim to offer early access to your super by transferring your super into a self-managed super fund. These schemes are illegal and heavy penalties apply if you participate. For more information, refer to Illegal early release of super.

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    Access on compassionate grounds

    You may be allowed to withdraw some of your super on compassionate grounds. Compassionate grounds include:

    • paying for medical treatment for you or a dependant
    • making a payment on a loan to prevent you from losing your house
    • modifying your home or vehicle for the special needs of you or a dependant because of a severe disability
    • paying for expenses associated with a death, funeral or burial of a dependant.

    The amount of super that you can withdraw on compassionate grounds is limited to what is reasonably needed. It is paid and taxed as a normal super lump sum.

    You can apply to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for a release of super on compassionate grounds.

    See also:

    Access due to severe financial hardship

    You may be able to withdraw some of your super if you have received eligible government income support payments continuously for 26 weeks and are unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses.

    A super withdrawal due to severe financial hardship is paid and taxed as a super lump sum.

    The minimum amount that can be paid is $1,000 (unless your super balance is less than $1,000) and the maximum amount is $10,000. You can only make one withdrawal from your super fund because of severe financial hardship in any 12-month period.

    There are no cashing restrictions under severe financial hardship if you have reached your preservation age plus 39 weeks and you were not gainfully employed on a full-time or part-time basis at the time of application.

    Contact your super fund to request access to your super due to severe financial hardship.

    See also:

    Access due to terminal medical condition

    You may be able to access your super if you have a terminal medical condition.

    A terminal medical condition exists if:

    • two registered medical practitioners have certified, jointly or separately, that you suffer from an illness, or have an injury, that is likely to result in death within a period (certification period) that ends no more than 24 months after the date of the certification
    • at least one of the registered medical practitioners is a specialist practising in an area related to your illness or injury
    • the certification period for each of the certificates has not ended.

    Contact your super fund to request access to your super due to a terminal medical condition. Your fund must pay your super as a lump sum. The payment is tax-free if you withdraw it within 24 months of certification.

    If your fund does not allow access due to a terminal medical condition, you may be able to move your super to a different fund.

    If you are suffering from a terminal medical condition and you have a super credit balance held by the ATO, you can either ask your fund to claim this on your behalf, or you can claim it directly from the ATO yourself.

    See also:

    Access due to temporary incapacity

    You may be able to access your super if you are temporarily unable to work or need to work less hours because of a physical or mental medical condition.

    You will receive the super in regular payments (income stream) over the time you are unable to work. A super withdrawal due to temporary incapacity is taxed as a normal super income stream.

    Contact your super fund to request access to your super due to temporary incapacity.

    See also:

    Access due to permanent incapacity

    You may be able to access your super if you are permanently incapacitated. This type of super withdrawal is sometimes called a 'disability super benefit'.

    Your fund must be satisfied that you have a permanent physical or mental medical condition that is likely to stop you from ever working again in a job you were qualified to do by education, training or experience.

    At least two medical practitioners must certify this for you to receive concessional tax treatment.

    You can receive the super as either a lump sum or as regular payments (income stream). A super withdrawal due to permanent incapacity is subject to different tax components.

    Contact your super fund to request access to your super because you have a permanent incapacity.

    See also:

    Super less than $200

    You may be able to access your super if your employment is terminated and the balance of your super account is less than $200, or if you have formerly lost super held by a super fund or by us that is less than $200.

    Contact your super fund to request access. No tax is payable when accessing super accounts with a balance less than $200.

    You may be able to withdraw ATO held super accounts – check the eligibility criteria.

    See also:

    Last modified: 21 May 2018QC 23235