Super benefits are generally not accessible until you reach preservation age. However in some circumstances, such as severe financial hardship, you may be able to withdraw some of your super early.
Super is designed to provide income in your retirement.
That’s why it is generally not accessible until you reach your preservation age.
However, it is recognised that in some circumstances you may need to access your super early.
Situations when super can be withdrawn before preservation age include:
- being eligible for invalidity retirement under PSSap rules
- suffering severe financial hardship or being eligible on compassionate grounds
- changing jobs with $200 or less in your super account
- leaving Australia permanently having been a temporary resident
How can I Apply?
To apply for early release on grounds of severe financial hardship, please complete the Early access to superannuation benefit application form. To apply on other specified grounds you must apply to the Australian Taxation Office and complete the Early access to superannuation benefit application form.
Use the Withdrawing your super form to get your super if you change jobs and your balance is $200 or less, or if you leave Australia permanently having been a temporary resident.
Rolling out your super to another fund is not withdrawing your super. If you choose another fund, your benefits are still invested in the super environment (i.e. they aren’t withdrawn). See our Withdrawing your super from PSSap factsheet for information on exiting PSSap to another fund.
Severe financial hardship
Severe financial hardship
- Have received Commonwealth income support payments for at least 26 continuous weeks and you are able to demonstrate financial hardship (Criterion 1), or
- Have received Commonwealth income support payments for 39 cumulative weeks since reaching your preservation age and you are not gainfully employed at the time you lodge your application (Criterion 2).
If you apply under Criterion 1, a maximum of $10,000 gross (less tax) may be released in any 12 month period. Only one payment may be made in any 12 month period. If you apply under Criterion 2, there is no maximum withdrawal amount or limit to the applications you make.
Which types of income support payments qualify?
Income support payments must be made by Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Eligible payment types include:
- Income support supplements
- Service pensions
- Social security benefits
- Social security pensions
Payments that are not eligible include Family Allowance, Austudy, and Youth Allowance payments in relation to full-time study.
See the Centrelink and Department of Veterans’ Affairs websites for more information about Commonwealth income support payments.
Demonstrating financial hardship for Criterion 1
Financial hardship means you are unable to meet your reasonable and immediate family living expenses. You need to provide evidence of bills or expenses.
One aspect of financial hardship is whether you own assets that could reasonably and realistically be sold to meet your expenses. This will be determined by guidelines issued by the Department of Human Services. We may not release money on hardship grounds if you have more than $50,000 in assets (excluding your home).For this purpose, any assets should be valued at their resale value, not their replacement value. For example, if you sell your car the value is the likely sale price (market value), not the cost to buy a new or similar car.
If you don't qualify on grounds of severe financial hardship, you may be able to apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for access to your super on specified grounds.
Specified grounds which allow you to access superannuation include:
- Medical expenses
- Renovations to your necessitated by severe disability
- Mortgage payments to prevent loss of your home.
Information on how to apply is available on the ATO website.
If ATO approves your application, you then need to submit your approval along with an Early access to superannuation benefit form.
How to apply for early release on financial hardship or specified grounds
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