Super and illness

What happens to your super when you are unwell?

If you suffer a physical or mental illness, you may be able to use the insurance included in your super to protect your regular income. While early access to super is heavily regulated and should be considered a last resort, it’s good to know your options.

What happens to your super if you become ill?

Did you know that when you join Rest (if you’re 25 and over with a balance of $6,000 or more in your Rest Super account) you’re automatically covered with insurance when your employer next contributes into your Rest Super account?

This means you may be eligible for a one off or regular payments to replace any loss of income your illness causes

You can find out more about Rest's insurance features here.
sml-umbrella-icon-(1).jpg Tip: New Rest members can increase their level of default cover within the first 120 days of joining Rest Super. You can apply for additional cover by going to MemberAccess and clicking on the "Insurance" tab . Conditions apply.

Accessing your super on compassionate grounds

Beyond Rest's insurance features, eligible Australians may be able to appeal to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for early super access on compassionate grounds. These include:

  • Medical treatment or transport*
  • Disability modifications to a home or car*
  • Palliative care: expenses associated with caring for a terminal medical condition*
  • Funeral costs: death, funeral and burial of a dependent

*For yourself or a dependent

Accessing your super on incapacitation grounds

You may also qualify for early super access on 'incapacity to work' grounds if:

  • You are permanently incapacitated, defined as unlikely to engage in the employment you're qualified for (by education, training or experience) due to physical or mental health
  • You are diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Rest will need proof of your condition from two seperate medical practitioners and, in the case of terminal illness, one of these must be a specialist in the relevant field.

sml-umbrella-icon-(2).jpg Tip: If you have Death or Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) insurance as part of your Rest account, you may be able to avoid accessing your super early by making a claim.

How do I apply for early access to super?

If you have any questions about eligibility for early super withdrawal, you can contact us and our advisors will help you decide if this is the right option for you.

Official approval must be given by the ATO before we are able to allow for early access to your super. You can apply for release of your super on compassionate grounds through your MyGov account.

Once approval has been given, just fill out this form and we will make the transfer into your usual account.

Things to consider before early super withdrawal

While it's easy to be tempted by any eligibility to claim your super early, it's worth remembering a few things:

  • Any one-off withdrawals can have a big impact on your super 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 total and partial disability cover, may prevent you from having to withdraw from your super in the first place.

Remember, Rest's advice team are on hand to help you through times of hardship. Contact us to find out how we can help you in times of need.

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information or deciding whether to acquire or hold a product, consider its appropriateness and the relevant PDS which is available at
The cost of providing financial services is included in the fees as disclosed in the relevant PDS. Rest and the Fund do not charge additional fees or obtain commissions for the advice provided. Rest employees are paid a salary and do not receive commissions. They may receive a performance related bonus that takes into account the financial services provided. Super Investment Management Pty Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rest, manages some of the Fund’s investments. Rest has no other relationships or associations with any related body corporate or product issuer that might reasonably be expected to influence Rest in providing financial services. For more information, contact us at

Issued by Retail Employees Superannuation Pty Limited ABN 39 001 987 739 (Rest), trustee of Retail Employees Superannuation Trust ABN 62 653 671 394 (Fund)


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