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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 five 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 expenses 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 a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand.
    • Condition 5 – you provide all required supporting evidence and 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:

    • Condition 1 – you or your dependant must require treatment for either       
    • 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 is considered financial hardship. It does not meet the conditions for a compassionate release of super.


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

    Next steps:

    Accommodating a disability

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

    • modifications to your principle 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 disability are unlikely to be approved.

    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:

    • home modifications – if it is your 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.

    Next steps:

    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.

    Next steps:

    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.

    Next steps:

    Preventing foreclosure or forced sale of home

    You may be eligible for a compassionate release of super to pay for mortgage arrears or council rates if the mortgage lender is threatening to have your home re-possessed or sold.

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

    • Condition 1 – the property is your principal place of residence.
    • Condition 2 – you are legally responsible for the mortgage repayments or council rates.
    • Condition 3 – your mortgage lender is threatening foreclosure or your council rates are more than two years in arrears and the council is threatening sale of the property.
    • Condition 4 – you have no capacity to pay the money owing.

    You are not eligible for a release if:

    • you have outstanding loan or rates arrears but your home is not at risk of foreclosure or forcible sale
    • it is your dependant's home at risk
    • the threatened foreclosure or forcible sale is due to bankruptcy or family court proceedings.

    Maximum release amount for mortgage foreclosure

    The maximum amount you can request for a mortgage release within a 12-month period is the sum of both:

    • three months of repayments
    • 12 month's 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 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.

    Next steps:

      Last modified: 05 Feb 2021QC 60034