January 9 2023

What happens to your super when you are ill or injured?

If you become ill or injured, you may not be able to keep up with the costs associated with day-to-day living due to reduced or no income.

If you have Income Protection insurance through your super, this may help to replace a portion of your regular income. If you don’t have or don’t qualify for Income Protection, or have a more permanent illness or injury, you may be able to access your super, or other insurances you may hold.
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Login to Member Access to see what types of insurance you’re covered for and find out more about Rest’s insurance by reading our Insurance Guides. Here we’ve outlined some of the important things for you to consider.

Accessing your super on permanent incapacity or terminal illness grounds

Beyond Rest’s insurance features, you may also qualify for early access to super on the following grounds:

Permanent incapacity: if you become permanently incapacitated, meaning your ill-health (whether physical or mental) makes it unlikely that you will engage in gainful employment for which you are reasonably qualified by education, training or experience. This may or may not include insurance proceeds paid into your super account if you hold Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) cover


Terminal medical condition: if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, meaning an illness or injury that is certified by two medical practitioners (at least one being a specialist practicing in the relevant area related to the illness) that it is likely to result in your death within 24 months after the date of the certification. This may or may not include insurance proceeds paid into your super account if you hold Death cover which includes Terminal Illness.

Accessing your super on compassionate grounds

Eligible Australians may be able to appeal to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for early access to super on compassionate grounds if you aren’t able to access your super yet (because you haven’t met a condition of release, such as retirement or turning 65).

Please refer to the ATO website for eligibility information. Compassionate grounds for early release might include:

  • Medical treatment or transport*
  • Disability modifications to a home or car*
  • Palliative care: expenses associated with caring for a terminal medical condition*

*For yourself or a dependant

How to apply for early access to your super

We’re here to help. Before you apply for early access, we may be able to answer any questions you have. You can contact us to discuss your options.

For early access on compassionate grounds, official approval must be given by the ATO before we can allow early access to your super (see ‘Early access on compassionate grounds’ on the ATO website). You can apply for super release on compassionate grounds through your MyGov account. Once approval has been given, just fill out this form and we’ll make the transfer into your usual account.

Things you may want to consider before early super withdrawal

If you are eligible to claim your super early, it may be worth you considering a few things:

  • Any one-off withdrawals may impact your super account balance down the line.
  • All or part of your super withdrawal may be taxed.
  • Other Centrelink benefits may be impacted by a super payment.
  • Insurance, like Income Protection and TPD cover, may mean you won’t need to withdraw from your super in the first place, but this is subject to terms and conditions. You can find out more about insurance in your super here.

The Rest Advice team is available to help you through times of hardship. Book a call to chat with a Rest Adviser.

Want to learn more?