Access your super early

Withdrawing your super early can put your future at risk. But if you really need to, you can apply in special circumstances.

The downside to accessing super early

We understand that you might need the money in your super today for more urgent money matters. That's why, in certain situations, it's possible to access your super early.

However, it's important to know that if you withdraw your super early, you stop it from growing. Plus, any amounts you withdraw could be subject to tax.

And because you'll have saved less and paid more tax, a comfortable retirement may be at risk.

When you can access your super early

You can access your super early on a number of grounds. Read below to learn what they are, as well as dive into some of the more common situations in detail.
  • Compassionate grounds

    If you need to cover costs for you or your dependants, you might be able to access your super early on compassionate grounds. Costs can be:

    • Medical expenses (including medical transportation)
    • Home loan payments to avoid foreclosure on your mortgage
    • Changes to your house or car to accommodate severe disability
    • Palliative care or funeral expenses

    The Department of Human Services decides whether you’re eligible to access your super early on compassionate grounds, so you’ll need to apply through them. You can do so here. Please note that you’re not eligible to apply if you’re a temporary resident in Australia.

  • Severe financial hardship

    If you’re experiencing severe financial hardship, you might be able to access your super early. You can apply for one payment up to $10,000 in a 12-month period, regardless of your age.

    To be eligible, you need to:

    • have received Commonwealth income support payments for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks
    • be receiving these payments when you make your application and;
    • be unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses

    If you’ve reached your preservation age plus 39 weeks, you can apply for a payment of any amount if:

    • you’ve received Commonwealth income support payments since reaching your preservation age
    • you’re unemployed or employed for less than ten hours a week when you make your application

    We generally decide whether you’re eligible to access your super early on severe financial hardship grounds. Please note that you’re not eligible to apply if you’re a temporary resident in Australia.

  • Temporary resident leaving permanently

    If you’re a temporary resident permanently leaving Australia, you can apply to access your super early.

    To receive your super, you must:
    • have been in Australia on a temporary visa (excluding subclasses 405 and 410)
    • have already left Australia
    • be the holder of an expired or cancelled visa.

    If you're eligible, you can apply for early release of your super online through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. You can apply before you leave Australia. New Zealand citizens aren't entitled to access their super early. This is because the Australian and New Zealand Governments have an agreement in place to allow the transfer of super in an Australian fund to the New Zealand superannuation system.

Severe financial hardship

Make your current financial situation your priority. You don’t have to go it alone. Use our tools and advice, or speak to a financial counsellor or financial adviser to get yourself on the road to recovery.

Learn more

How you can apply

To apply to withdraw your super early, log into your account, or download and complete the form below.

Download APPLICATION for payment of benefit, PDF (142 KB) download insurance guide PDF 4.4MB   

If you’re applying on compassionate grounds, you’ll need to make an application through the Department of Human Services.

You can also call us on 1300 300 273 from 8am to 8pm AEST/AEDT weekdays to have an application form sent out to you. We’ll get back to you once we’ve received and assessed your application.

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