Show download pdf controls
  • Early access on compassionate grounds

    There are very limited circumstances when you can access your superannuation early.

    You may be allowed to withdraw some of your super on compassionate grounds for unpaid expenses, where you have no other means of paying for the expense.

    The amount of super you can withdraw is limited to what you reasonably need to meet the unpaid expense.

    Compassionate grounds include needing money to pay for:

    • medical treatment and medical transport for you or your dependant
    • making a payment on a home loan or council rates so you don't lose your home
    • modifying your home or vehicle or buying disability aids to cater for the severe disability of you or your dependant
    • palliative care for you or your dependant
    • expenses associated with the death, funeral or burial of your dependant.

    The super you withdraw is paid and taxed as a normal super lump sum. The tax rate depends upon various factors including age and the components of the super lump sum. Your provider will automatically deduct the tax from your super account. Refer to Super lump sum tax table for further information.

    If you are a member of an exempt public sector super scheme (EPSSS), do not apply to the ATO. You need to apply directly to your scheme for early release of super. EPSSS have their own state and territory law in regards to early release of super. Talk to your super provider to find out if you are a member of an EPSSS.

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

    Next steps:

      Last modified: 20 Mar 2020QC 60034