- You can access your super if you’ve reached your preservation age and declare that you’re retired
- Other ways that make you eligible to access your super include taking on a transition to retirement pension, stopping work or if you’re 65 or older
- There are unique circumstances where you may be able to access your super even if you don’t meet these conditions.
To access your super in Australia, you need to have met certain conditions such as reaching your preservation age. This is because super is preserved until you reach a certain age.
There are specific circumstances, like buying your first home under the First Home Super Saver scheme or undergoing severe financial hardship, that allow you to access your super early.
In this article we look at what these conditions are and their requirements.
Conditions to access your super
There are four ways you can access your super.
1. You’ve reached your preservation age and declare that you’re retired.
If you’re permanently retired and have reached preservation age, you can access your super. Your preservation age depends on your date of birth as indicated in the table below.
|Your date of birth||Age you can access your super|
|Before 1 July 1960||55|
|1 July 1960 — 30 June 1961||56|
|1 July 1961 — 30 June 1962||57|
|1 July 1962 — 30 June 1963||58|
|1 July 1963 — 30 June 1964||59|
|After 1 July 1964||60|
2. Transitioning to retirement
A transition to retirement (TTR) pension enables you to access your super before you retire, once you’ve reached your preservation age.
It can be used to gently transition into retirement by remaining in the workforce but on a part-time basis. To maintain the same level of income, a TTR pension allows you to make up the difference in lost income from your super.
While this can be a useful way to supplement your income, accessing your super may reduce the amount of retirement savings you have left to fund your eventual retirement.
3. You’ve stopped working
If you’ve stopped working in a particular job and are 60 or older, you can access the super you’ve accumulated as a lump sum or pension even if you begin working again under a different employment arrangement.
4. You're 65 or older
Even if you haven’t retired, once you reach the age of 65, you can access your super.
You can choose to receive your super in one go as a lump sum payment or set up an account-based pension where it’s paid like a salary.
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Accessing your super early
There are unique circumstances where you may be able to access your super even if you don’t meet these conditions. But there are strict eligibility requirements you must adhere to.
Some of these circumstances include:
- First Home Super Saver scheme: If you’re a first-home buyer, you can put a little extra money into your super–up to $15,000 a year (and a total of $30,000)–and then access this money, as well as any returns you make from it (as calculated by the ATO based on a set rate), to put towards a home deposit for your first home
- Severe financial hardship: if you’ve been receiving government welfare payments for 26 consecutive weeks and are unable to cover your living expenses, you can apply to withdraw between $1,000 and $10,000 from your super. The amount is paid and taxed as a lump sum
- Compassionate grounds: if you cannot meet certain expenses like medical, funeral costs or mortgage repayments to prevent you from losing your home, you can apply to withdraw some of your super
- Terminal medical condition: if you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than 2 years to live–as certified by two medical practitioners–you can apply for early access to your super
- Incapacity: if you have a physical or mental condition that stops you from working in some capacity or completely, you may be able to access your super as a lump sum or in regular payments
- Leaving Australia: if you were a temporary resident in Australia, have now left the country and your visa has expired, you can apply to withdraw your super
What is the retirement age in Australia?
1 As at 30 September 2021
Important information and disclaimer
This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. NULIS is part of the group of companies comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (‘Insignia Financial Group’). The information in this article is current as at January 2022 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. The case study examples (if any) provided in this article have been included for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon for decision making. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the Insignia Financial Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.