Access your super
Superannuation is money saved throughout your working life to provide for your retirement. There are rules around how and when you can access it, called conditions of release.
The Federal Government has allowed individuals in financial stress as a result of the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
To be eligible you need to meet one or more of the following requirements:
- be unemployed, or
- be eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance, or
- on or after 1 January 2020: you were made redundant; or your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or if you are a sole trader — your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.
Applications can be made through the myGov website and are processed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The ATO will decide who can access their super under this package and will provide a copy of its determination to an individual’s super fund, which will then pay the member.
Applications for the financial year 2020-21 can be made between 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020. Applications for the 2019-20 financial year have closed.
The ATO website has updated comprehensive information about the process for COVID-19 early release of super which includes eligibility and the implications of accessing your super early.
Prime Super has also provided some additional information for members who apply to access their super under this government package.
For more information see the MoneySmart website for information about steps to take before you access your super; the Government’s Early Access to Super Fact Sheet (July 2020) and the ATO commonly asked Questions and Answers (May 2020) and the Australian Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus at treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.
Access when you retire
Generally, you can gain access to your super once you have retired from the workforce and reached your preservation age. Your preservation age is set out in the following table.
|Date of birth||Preservation age|
|Prior to 1 July 1960||55|
|1 July 1960 to 30 June 1961||56|
|1 July 1961 to 30 June 1962||57|
|1 July 1962 to 30 June 1963||58|
|1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964||59|
|After 1 July 1964||60|
You will be eligible to access your super when:
- you have reached age 65 (regardless of your employment status)
- you have reached age 60 and ceased an employment arrangement that meets the relevant requirements
- you have reached your preservation age and have permanently retired from the workforce
- the portion of your super you wish to access is classified as unrestricted non-preserved
- you meet the criteria for early release of your benefit, or
- you have reached your preservation age, are employed and access a Transition to Retirement income stream.
Other ways to access your super early
You may be able to access your super early in limited circumstances:
Small account balance
If you have less than $200 in your account and are ceasing employment with your employer. Find more information about early access of super on the Australian Taxation Office website.
Severe financial hardship
A claim for severe financial hardship may be made in certain circumstances. To qualify, members must be able to prove the receipt of a Commonwealth income support payment continuously for the last 26 weeks and provide a Q230 letter (from Centrelink) and a statement of income. Proof of inability to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses is also required. A financial hardship claim generates a benefit payment of no more than $10,000 (gross) and no less than $1,000 and may be claimed only once in each 12 month period. Approval of any claim is not automatic and must be assessed in accordance with the relevant law. For more information, see our Fact Sheet. You can also find more information about early access of super on the Australian Taxation Office website.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) assesses applications for the early release of superannuation benefits on compassionate grounds and determines if they meet the specific legislative requirements. Circumstances where such applications may be considered include:
- To pay for medical or dental treatment for yourself or a dependent or to pay for the transport to treatment
- Prevent foreclosure on your home’s mortgage
- Modifications to your home to accommodate your needs or the needs of a dependent because of a severe disability
- Palliative care for yourself or a dependent with a terminal medical condition.
Temporary residents leaving Australia
If you are working in Australia as a temporary resident, you may be eligible to claim your super money when you leave Australia. This payment is called the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP). Refer to the Australian Taxation Office for further information.
Updated July 2020
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