There are certain exceptions that enable you to access your super early (note, these are all taxed differently)...
These exceptions are:
- The First Home Super Saver Scheme
- Temporary incapacity
- Permanent incapacity
- Severe financial hardship
- Terminal medical condition
- Super fund has less than $200
- Compassionate grounds
- Leaving the country
The First Home Super Saver Scheme
Any voluntary contributions in your super fund (ie not the superannuation guarantee contributions from your employer) from 1 July 2017 can be released to be put towards a deposit for your first home. The maximum amount you can access is $30,000. There are a number of other rules around what you can access the funds for on the ATO’s website.
If you’re temporarily unable to work or need to work fewer hours due to a mental or physical medical condition you may be able to access your super early by applying to release insurance benefits from your super fund. In this case, you will receive an income stream from your super while you are unable to work.
If you are incapacitated due to a mental or physical medical condition that is likely to prevent you from working ever again in a job you are qualified to do by education, training or experience, you can apply to your super fund to access your super early as a disability super benefit. In this case, you can receive your super as either a lump sum or an income stream.
Severe financial hardship
If you have been receiving eligible government income support payments continuously for at least 26 weeks, and you’re unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses, you may qualify to release a lump sum from your super. This could be because you’re unable to pay your mortgage or rent arrears, have outstanding car repairs, or have medical expenses. This can only be applied for once a year, and is only available for payments in arrears, not for future bills or to clear debt.
Terminal medical condition
You may be able to access your super early as a lump sum if you have a terminal medical condition – as diagnosed by two registered medical practitioners.
Super fund has less than $200
You may be able to access your super early if the balance of the fund is less than $200. Contact your super fund or the ATO to request access.
Releasing super early under compassionate grounds doesn’t require you to have been on eligible government income support payments for 26 weeks. But it’s also limited to very specific circumstances, namely:
- Your (or one of your a dependant’s) medical treatment or transport for a life- threatening or mental illness, or one that generates chronic pain.
- Mortgage or council rates payment to prevent you from losing your home.
- Home or vehicle costs to accommodate your (or a dependant’s) disability.
- Paying for your (or a dependant’s) palliative care.
- Paying for the death, funeral or burial expenses of a dependant.
Leaving the country
If you are a temporary resident who worked in Australia and earned super, your visa has expired, and you have left Australia, you may be eligible for the ‘Departing Australia Superannuation Payment’ (DASP). You can contact your super fund (or the ATO if your funds have been transferred to them), or authorise a registered tax agent or another suitable person to claim your DASP on your behalf. More details can be found on SuperGuide.