Your super is your money saved for your retirement, so there are rules around when you can access it. You may be able to access your super early in limited circumstances.

 

What is severe financial hardship?

Severe financial hardship is when you are unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses like groceries, rent or medical costs. You may be able to access some of your super early to help.

Am I eligible?

To apply for early release of super due to severe financial hardship you must meet the following criteria:

  • you’ve been receiving Commonwealth income support payments for 26 continuous weeks and

  • you’re unable to meet reasonable and immediate family and living expenses

    Or

  • you’ve e reached preservation age (refer to preservation age table below) plus 39 weeks and

  • you’ve been receiving Commonwealth income support payments for a cumulative period of 39 weeks since reaching preservation age and

  • you’re not gainfully employed when you apply (that is, you’re unemployed or employed less than 10 hours a week)

If you’re unsure how long you’ve been receiving Commonwealth income support payments, you can view your payment summary on the myGov portal.

Man checking his computer

How do I apply?

If you meet the eligibility criteria, call us on 1300 300 778 to apply. 

What’s the process?

  1. Have your Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN) handy when you call us so that we can confirm you meet the eligibility criteria over the phone.

  2. Once confirmed, we’ll send you a form (via email or post) to complete. You’ll need to complete the declaration on the form and sign it in front of an approved witness and send the form back to us by email or post.

  3. When we receive your completed form, we’ll make your payment to your bank account within 5 business days – you’ll also need to allow another 1-3 days for your bank to process the payment.

Preservation age

Preservation age is the age you’d usually be able to access your super.

Date of birth Preservation age

Before 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

1 July 1964 or after

60

For more information on accessing your super early click here

 

What is compassionate grounds?

You may be able to withdraw some of your super early on compassionate grounds if you need to pay for:

  • medical costs – for treatment or travel to treatment for you, your partner, child or other dependant

  • mortgage – to stop the bank from selling your home

  • disability – to modify your home or car to accommodate the special needs or you or your dependant which arise from a severe disability

  • palliative care – for you or a dependant

  • funeral – to pay for expenses for a dependant.
Couple discussing finance

Am I eligible?

Visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website here for eligibility criteria for applying to access some of your super on compassionate grounds.


How do I apply?

  1. You’ll need to apply for access to your super on compassionate grounds directly with the ATO.

  2. Apply online via the ATO page in myGov - go to ‘compassionate release’ in the super tab. Your application can take up to 14 days – Rest can’t provide a progress update while the ATO is assessing your claim.

  3. Once your claim has been assessed you’ll receive a message in your myGov inbox with the outcome.

  4. If your claim is approved you’ll receive an approval letter from the ATO. You can then complete a withdrawal form here  – make sure your approval letter from the ATO is attached as we need this to process your claim.

    For more information on accessing your super early click here.

Other options

You may be able to access your super early in other limited circumstances. Find out more in our Accessing your super early factsheet here