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  • Eligibility for compassionate release of super

    We can only approve a release of your super on compassionate grounds if you meet all of the conditions listed below:

    • Condition 1 – you meet the eligibility requirements of the compassionate ground you’re applying for. The specific eligibility criteria are for either            
    • Condition 2 – you have not yet paid the expense. We can only approve compassionate release of super to help you with unpaid expenses. If you have already paid the expense, for example by using a loan, a credit card or money borrowed from family or friends, you do not meet the eligibility requirements.
    • Condition 3 – you can’t afford to pay part or all of the expense without accessing your super. That is, you can't pay the expense by          
      • getting a loan
      • using your savings
      • selling shares, investments or assets.
    • Condition 4 – you are or have been a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand.

    However, if you are currently a temporary resident, you are not eligible to apply for a compassionate release of super and cannot meet this condition. If you were a temporary resident and are not a current Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, you are also not eligible.

    • Condition 5 – you provide all required supporting evidence and unpaid invoices or quotes.

    Medical (treatment or transport)

    You may be eligible for compassionate release of super to pay for necessary medical treatment or medical transport expenses for you or your dependant.

    Medical treatment – There are two conditions to meet to be eligible:

    We consider medical treatment to be the application of medicines, surgery, or psychotherapy to a patient to restore or preserve health, or cure an illness, disease or other medical condition. Your unpaid expenses need to be for medical treatment by a registered medical practitioner. Treatment from an allied health professional, such as physiotherapy, psychology and podiatry are not considered eligible expenses, unless they form part of the medical treatment certified by a registered medical practitioner.

    • Condition 1 – you or your dependant must require medical treatment:            
    • Condition 2 – the medical treatment you or your dependant need is not readily available through the public health system.

    Medical transport

    To be eligible you must be applying for transport to access medical treatment for one of the above conditions. The transport method can be by land, water or air. You must use the most cost efficient and reasonable option available.

    If you are having difficulty paying a vehicle loan this does not meet the conditions for a compassionate release of super.

    Life threatening

    Your registered medical practitioners are required to provide detailed information relating to your existing life-threatening condition. A potentially life-threatening illness will generally not be sufficient to meet the requirements.

    There must also be a clear and direct link between the life-threatening condition and the treatment required.

    Acute or chronic

    Your registered medical practitioners need to provide detailed information relating to your acute or chronic pain or mental disturbance. If this information is not provided your application may not meet the requirements.

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    Accommodating a disability

    You may be eligible for a compassionate release of super to accommodate the special needs of you or your dependant which arise from a severe disability. The type of expenses that may be considered include:

    • modifications to your principal place of residence
    • modifications to your vehicle
    • purchase of disability aids and assistive technology
    • purchase of a modified vehicle.

    Everyday expenses or items not specifically related to accommodating the severe disability are unlikely to be approved.

    Severe disability

    A severe disability refers to a severe physical or mental impairment which either temporarily or permanently limits one or more functional capabilities such as mobility, communication and self-care, causing substantial functional limitation in everyday activities. For more information refer to Report by registered medical practitioner.

    We can only approve modifications for:

    • your home – if it is the principal place of residence of both you and your dependant
    • your vehicle – if you own or have joint ownership of the vehicle
    • a rental property you live in – if your landlord has provided written consent to the proposed changes.

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    Palliative care for a terminal illness

    You may be eligible for compassionate release of super to pay for palliative care expenses if you or your dependant has a terminal illness.

    Some of these expenses can include:

    • costs of accommodation in a hospice
    • service providers and carers providing palliative care.

    Applications for palliative care on behalf of your dependant must be made to us. If we approve your request the amount released will be taxable.

    If you need to pay for your own palliative care, you can request access due to a terminal medical condition. Your fund will pay your super as a lump sum that is tax free if you withdraw it within 24 months of certification.

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    Funeral expenses for your dependant

    You may be eligible for a compassionate release of super for funeral or burial expenses if your dependant has recently died. You can apply to release an amount needed to cover:

    • the death certificate
    • funeral service fees, hiring costs, flowers and public advertising, transport of the deceased
    • burial or cremation fees, including coffin, casket or urn.

    Ineligible expenses include venue hire or catering for a wake and headstone or memorial costs requested after the date of the burial or cremation.

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    Preventing foreclosure or forced sale of home

    You may be eligible for a compassionate release of super where:

    • your mortgage or council rates are in arrears, and
    • your mortgage lender or council is threatening to have your home repossessed or sold.

    To be eligible, you must meet all of the following conditions:

    • Condition 1 – the property subject to the foreclosure or forced sale is your principal place of residence.
    • Condition 2 – you are legally responsible for the mortgage repayments or council rates of that property.
    • Condition 3 – you have received written advice that your principal place of residence is to be foreclosed, sold or repossessed from          
      • your mortgage lender who has provided you with a default notice
      • your council, as your council rates have been outstanding for more than two years. 
    • Condition 4 – you have no capacity to pay the money owing.

    You are not eligible for a release:

    • if you don't own the house being foreclosed – for example, you are renting
    • if you don’t live in the house being foreclosed – for example, an investment property
    • if you have missed your mortgage repayments, but your mortgage lender has not issued a default notice
    • if you have outstanding council rates, and          
      • the rates have not been outstanding for more than two years, and
      • your council has not provided a written notice of foreclosure 
    • to pay outstanding bills or debts, even if your property may be at risk of being foreclosed at some time in the future
    • if the threatened foreclosure is due to bankruptcy or family court proceedings
    • to pay loans relating to properties that are not your home, even if your home is at risk of being foreclosed – this applies where a loan doesn't solely relate to your home.

    If you own multiple properties, you may not be eligible for release on compassionate grounds, as you may be able to pay your expense by selling one or more of the property assets. When applying, you should provide documents that support why you have been unable to sell your other property assets to prevent the threatened foreclosure of your home.

    Maximum release amount for mortgage foreclosure

    The maximum amount you can request for a mortgage release within a 12-month period is referred to as the cashing restriction, which is the sum of both:

    • three months of repayments, and
    • 12 months interest on the outstanding balance of the loan.

    For example, if your monthly repayments are $1,200 and 12 months interest on your loan is $9,600, the maximum you can request is 3 × $1,200 + $9,600 = $13,200.

    If your application to prevent foreclosure from your mortgage lender is approved, the 12 month cashing restriction timeframe starts from the date your superfund releases this payment.

    If you have more than one super fund, you can apply for a number of smaller amounts from them. However, the total amount released can only be the amount required to stop foreclosure. If you do not have enough funds to prevent the foreclosure, we will not approve the release of any funds.

    If more than one person is accessing their super on compassionate grounds to prevent foreclosure, the combined total amount released cannot exceed the maximum amount based on the calculation method above.

    Next steps  

      Last modified: 05 Dec 2022QC 60034