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Early access to your super

Releasing superannuation before you retire

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Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to access your super early, such as financial hardship, temporary or permanent injury or illness, for compassionate reasons or if you’re a temporary resident leaving Australia. The First Home Super Saver scheme has special provisions that could allow you to access your voluntary super contributions early.

Special conditions for all of these options apply and you may be required to pay tax on your withdrawal.

Can I access my super early?

Legitimate grounds for accessing your super before retirement include:

  1. Financial hardship, especially if you have been receiving welfare payments and you can’t afford basic living expenses.
  2. Compassionate reasons, such as medical or palliative care, to cover funeral costs, or to pay a debt to prevent losing your home.
  3. Terminal medical condition, where two medical specialists certify you have less than two years to live.
  4. Temporary or permanent incapacity, which leaves you unable to work your normal hours or do your work at all.
  5. Temporary Australian resident whose visa has expired and has left Australia. You’ll find more information on our super refund page.

Accessing super when you’re nearing retirement

If you’re over 55, there may be a better way to access your superannuation. By easing back on your working hours, you may be able to transition to retirement by drawing on some of your super early to top up your income. Find out more about transitioning to retirement.

How to withdraw super early

There are three ways:

  1. For financial, medical or compassionate grounds, you will need to contact your super fund.
  2. If you are a temporary resident leaving Australia you need to use the ATO form.
  3. If you’re over 55 and keen to still work, but do fewer hours, you may prefer to start a transition to retirement pension.

Different reasons to withdraw funds have different payment systems (eg. lump sum or income stream) and different tax implications. Your super fund can help get it right for you.

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