Preservation Age and Qualifying Age: What’s the difference?

If you’re thinking about retirement you may be asking 'What age can I access my super?' or 'When am I eligible for the Government Aged Pension?' Before you can answer these questions, you need to understand what your Preservation and Qualifying Ages are.

When it comes to super, retirement and the Age Pension, there are 2 important numbers you need to be aware of - your Preservation Age and your Qualifying Age. We’ve outlined the purpose of each and the difference between the two.

 

What is my Preservation Age?

Your Preservation Age is the minimum age you must reach before you can access your super, and it varies depending on the year you were born.

Use this table to find your preservation age:

birth year age you can access your super
Before 1 July 1952                                                            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

In addition to reaching your Preservation Age, you need to:

  • have permanently retired, or
  • want to transition to retirement while you’re still working, or
  • have changed jobs on or after turning 60, or
  • have turned 65 (even if you’re still working).

In some cases, such as in times of financial hardship, on compassionate grounds, or if you’re a temporary resident who’s leaving the country, you may be able to access your super before your preservation age

 

READ MORE: ACCESSING YOUR SUPER

 

I've reached my Preservation Age. Do I need to withdraw all my super at once?

You don’t have to take your super as a lump sum. You can set up an account based pension and draw a regular income, while your super stays invested. Keeping your super invested means you could continue to benefit from investment returns1 in retirement.

AustralianSuper’s account based pension is called Choice Income, and it allows you to control how much super is released to you and how often, a bit like receiving a salary.2 You must be paid at least once a year, or you can choose to be paid every 2 weeks, once a month, once every 3 months or twice a year. It’s up to you. Your Choice Income account is flexible so you can also change your payment and investment options at any time.1

If you’d prefer to keep working after you reach your Preservation Age, you could transition into retirement with AustralianSuper’s TTR Income account1 . This account may allow you to cut back the hours you work, while drawing on your super to make up for a reduced income.

What is my Qualifying Age?

If you’re eligible for the Government Age Pension, you’ll be able to access it when you reach your Qualifying Age.

Use the following table to find your Qualifying Age:

If you were born... your qualifying age is
Before 1 July 1952                                                            65 years
From 1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953                                 65.5
From 1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955                                  66
From 1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956                                 66.5
On, or after 1 January 1957                                       67

As you can see, your Qualifying Age is higher than your Preservation Age. That means that even if you’ve reached the age you can access your super, you may be a number of years away from being eligible to receive the Government Aged Pension.

There are other factors that determine your eligibility for the Government Age Pension, including your residency status, income and assets. Centrelink use 2 tests - the Assets test and the Income test to work out your eligibility and calculate any Government Age Pension payments you may receive.

 

READ MORE: ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THE GOVERNMENT AGE PENSION?

 

If you feel unsure about any of the information above then speak to a qualified advisor, who can help clarify things for your personal situation.

AustralianSuper members have access to professional financial advice.

 

Explore adviser options

 

Sources
1. Investment returns are not guaranteed. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.
2. Minimum pension income amounts apply depending on your age. For more information refer to the Choice Income PDS (page 38)             


This information is general financial advice which doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. Before making a decision about AustralianSuper, you should think about your financial requirements and refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement. AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898. 

Investment returns are not guaranteed. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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