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When can you access your savings?

Super is designed to help you save for retirement while you’re working. That’s why the government places restrictions on when you can get access to your money.

Ordinarily, to access your money you need to satisfy one or more of these conditions:

  • You’ve reached your preservation age and you’ve retired permanently from the workforce,  
  • You’ve turned 65, even if you’re still working.

But in some circumstances, you may be able to access some or all of your super early. The government applies strict rules to early release payments, not just to the circumstances that qualify, but also to the amounts you can withdraw. 

You can find out more about the circumstances that qualify for early release of super in the information below. Note that all early release applications are subject to our approval by your super fund and may require additional evidence.

Early access options

You may be able to claim your super early if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness or injury that, in the opinion of a specialist medical practitioner, is likely to result in your death within 24 months from the date of diagnosis. 

Please contact us when applying, as withdrawing your full super balance may impact your insurance benefits for death or total and permanent disablement claims.

If you’re experiencing severe financial hardship, it may be possible to access up to $10,000 of your super. This cap doesn’t apply if you’re over your preservation age.

To claim, you must satisfy one of the following legislative requirements:

  • You’re under your preservation age, unable to afford immediate and reasonable family living expenses and have been receiving Commonwealth income support payments continuously for at least 26 weeks.
  • You’ve reached your preservation age, you’re unemployed, or working less than 10 hours a week, on the date you submit your application, and you’ve been receiving Commonwealth income support payments for a total of at least 39 weeks.

If you are aged more than your preservation age plus 39 weeks, you can apply for any amount if you meet our additional eligibility criteria. This includes: 

  • You have been receiving Commonwealth income support payments for a cumulative period of at least 39 weeks after you reached your preservation age; and 
  • You are underemployed or employed for less than 10 hours a week when you lodge this application.

We also require that you have been a member for at least 6 months before we will consider an application for financial hardship.

The minimum amount that can be paid to you is $1,000 and the maximum is $10,000 (minus any taxes). You can only make one withdrawal on the grounds of financial hardship in any 12-month period. If you hold a temporary resident visa, you’re not able to apply for financial hardship.

For more information

Learn more about making a financial hardship payment application, and refer to our Insurance in your super guide.

You may be able to apply for early access to your super if you need help to pay for:

  • Medical or dental treatment for yourself or a dependent, or pay for transport to the treatment 
  • Overdue mortgage payments to prevent the sale of your home 
  • Funeral expenses for you or your dependants 
  • Palliative care costs for you or your dependants with a terminal medical condition 
  • Home or car modifications to better accommodate you or your dependant’s severe disability

To apply for the early release of your benefit on compassionate grounds, you’ll need to apply to the ATO directly. If your application is approved by the ATO, you can then use our Compassionate grounds payment form to submit your request to us.

Please contact our Helpline to discuss the process.

If you become seriously ill or permanently incapacitated, you may be able to claim your super balance early.

In order to receive any benefit you must show that, due to a serious illness or injury, you’re no longer able to work in any (or your own) occupation, and you won’t be able to return to work. 

For more information

Learn more about making a permanent incapacity claim, and refer to our Insurance in your super guide.

How to apply for early release of your super

Obtaining early access to your super may provide you with some support at a particularly challenging time.

However, even if you do qualify for the early release of some or all of your super, it’s important to keep in mind that withdrawing your super early will impact your future account balance and the money you have when you retire. 

Withdrawing super early may also affect the insurance cover you have through your account (if any), and there may be tax implications in some circumstances

Just remember, our team is here to help. So if you’d like to talk to someone about the early release of your super and the impacts it may have on your account and your long-term savings, please give us a call.

We’ll explain the conditions that apply and how to submit an application for early release, as the process can differ depending on the circumstances of your request.

Find out more

For more information on the early release of your super, visit the ATO website.

Learn more

Temporary residents departing Australia

If you worked in Australia as a temporary resident and you’ve now left Australia permanently, you may be able to claim your super under the government’s departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP) scheme.

To be eligible, you’ll need to meet the following conditions:

  • You entered Australia on any eligible temporary visa and 
  • You’ve left Australia on a permanent basis and your visa has expired/been cancelled 
  • You’re not an Australian or New Zealand citizen 
  • You don’t hold a 405 or 410 retirement visa.
Departing Australia superannuation payment

You can make an online DASP application, or download a paper form via the ATO website.

Learn more

Australian residents moving overseas

If you move to New Zealand permanently, you can either keep your super with us, or you can transfer your super to a complying KiwiSaver Scheme Account under the Trans-Tasman retirement savings portability rules. You can find out more on the ATO website.

If you move overseas (to any country other than New Zealand), your super will remain in your Equip Super account until you reach your preservation age or meet another condition of release.

Accessing super in retirement

Find out more about when you can access your super.

Learn more

We're here to help

If you’d like more information about the early release of your super and the impacts it may have on your Equip Super account, our team can help.

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