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Access your
super early

Super is a long-term investment designed to provide you with a positive financial future. But there may be situations where you need to access some or all of your super earlier than retirement age – for example, if you’re suffering severe financial hardship, are a temporary resident and have left Australia permanently, or are totally and permanently disabled or terminally ill.

When can you access your super?

While you usually need to wait until you reach preservation age, you may be able to access your super in the following circumstances:

  • severe financial hardship
  • compassionate grounds
  • terminal illness or total and permanent disability diagnosis
  • permanent departure from Australia
  • balance is under $200
  • as part of the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS).

Whatever your situation, we can help you understand the options that may be available to you.

Need to access some of your super early due to financial hardship?

The rules for accessing your super due to severe financial hardship depend on your preservation age.

You’re under preservation age

If you’re under preservation age, you can apply to withdraw between $1,000 and $10,000 from your account – or the whole amount if your balance is less than $1,000 – if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You’ve been receiving or have received an eligible Commonwealth income support payment from either Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) for the last 26 consecutive weeks.
  • You’re unable to meet reasonable and immediate living expenses.
  • You’re able to provide evidence of debts and expenses to support your application. 

Visit Member Online to see if you are eligible and to apply to claim your super due to financial hardship.

Need help? Contact our benefit payments team.

You’ve met preservation age

If you’ve reached preservation age, you can withdraw some, or all, of your super if you meet these two requirements:

  • You’ve received a Commonwealth income support payment for a cumulative period of 39 weeks since reaching your preservation age.
  • You’re not working at the date of application.

Visit Member Online to see if you are eligible and apply to claim your super due to financial hardship.

If you're a defined benefit member and you want to apply to access your super early, please contact us.

Need help? Contact our benefit payments team.

Understanding your options
during a difficult time

If you’re going through a tough time, you may be able to access your super in the following situations.

Compassionate grounds

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) may allow you to withdraw funds from your super account on compassionate grounds if you, or a dependant, require medical or palliative care, a home or a vehicle modification due to a severe disability, or you need to pay for funeral expenses. To access your super under compassionate grounds, you need to apply directly to the ATO. If they approve your application, they’ll send us the required documentation before we can release your funds.

Terminal illness or total and permanent disability

We understand that being diagnosed with a terminal illness or a total and permanent disability is a heartbreaking situation. Depending on your condition, you may be able to access some, or all, of your super. If you have insurance within your super, you may be able to claim this too. Contact us to discuss your options.

We’re here to help. Contact us to apply for early access to your super.

Leaving Australia permanently

If you’ve been working in Australia on a temporary visa and have decided to permanently leave the country, you may be able to withdraw your super as a Departing Australian Superannuation Payment (DASP) when you leave.

Do you have $200 or less in your super account?

You can withdraw your super if you have under $200 in your account and:

Another option? Consider consolidating any small amounts across multiple super funds into one dedicated account to help you grow your retirement savings.

Before consolidating, compare the fees, performance, and other features of each fund and check whether you’ll lose any benefits. Importantly, if you do close an account, you may lose any insurance attached to that account.  

You may find it beneficial to obtain advice from a licensed financial adviser. 

Buying your first home

The Federal Government introduced the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) to help Australians buy their first home. If you’re eligible, you can make voluntary contributions into your super account that can then be released to pay for a deposit.


Have a question

about accessing your super early?

Find answers to some questions we commonly get asked about accessing your super early.

In most cases, superannuation benefits are released once you reach your ‘preservation age’ and are permanently retired. Your preservation age depends on when you were born.

Date of birthPreservation age
Before 1 July 196055
1 July 1960–30 June 196156
1 July 1961–30 June 196257
1 July 1962–30 June 196358
1 July 1963–30 June 196459
After 1 July 196460

To access your super on compassionate grounds, you’ll need to meet the conditions set out by the ATO, which primarily relate to an inability to pay for specified expenses. These include the following:

1. For medical or dental treatment or transport

To use your super to help fund medical or dental treatment, or transport to and from these treatments for you or your dependant, the condition must be

  • a life-threatening illness or injury
  • acute or chronic physical pain, or
  • acute or chronic mental condition.

The treatment must not be readily available through the public health system, and the cost of treatment must not be completely covered by private health insurance or workers compensation.

2. For assistance with mortgage repayments

You may be granted early access to your super to prevent your home from being sold by the lender holding the home’s mortgage.

Typically, you won’t be granted early access to super to pay rent, or to make a payment on a mortgage that:

  • you expect to have difficulty paying in the future but is not yet in arrears
  • is in arrears, but not to the extent that the lender has decided to sell
  • belongs to a dependant, other family member or friend
  • is for a second or investment property.

3. For modifications to your home or motor vehicle

If either you, or your dependant, has a severe disability, you may be granted early access to your super to pay for modifications required to accommodate special needs.

4. For care for a terminal medical condition

If either you, or your dependant, has a terminal condition, you may be granted early access to your super to pay for palliative care.

5. For expenses relating to the death of a dependant

You may be granted early access to your super to assist with funeral, burial, cremation and other expenses related to the death of a dependant. However, family members who aren’t dependants aren’t covered by this condition for release. For example, expenses associated with the death of a parent, grandparent or sibling would only be approved if that family member was in an interdependent relationship with you.

Download the Access Your Super on Compassionate Grounds fact sheet  to learn more.

Applications under the COVID-19 Early Release of Super scheme are now closed. You can find more information on the ATO website.