Your super is designed to help you build long-term retirement savings and generally can’t be accessed until you retire or turn 65. However, there are certain circumstances when you may be eligible to access your super early to help you get through a difficult time. Here’s how it works. 

 

Compassionate grounds

It’s possible to apply to the ATO to release some or all of your super on compassionate grounds. This includes needing money to pay for:

  • medical treatment or medical transport for you or your dependant
  • palliative care for you or your dependant
  • making a payment on a home loan or council rates so you don't lose your home
  • modifying your home or vehicle or buying disability aids to cater for the severe disability of you or your dependant
  • expenses associated with the death, funeral or burial of your dependant.

You can read more about the eligibility criteria on the ATO website 

 

How much can you withdraw?

There’s no limit to the amount you can ask to withdraw on compassionate grounds. However, the ATO will determine how much money can be released from your super based on your specific circumstances and the evidence you supply to support your application. 

 

How to apply for early release of super on compassionate grounds

1. Complete the ATO application form and collect evidence to support your application
1. Complete the ATO application form and collect evidence to support your application

You can access the ATO’s online form through your myGov account, or call 13 10 20 to request a paper form if you prefer. 

 

You’ll need evidence to support your application. This will include unpaid quotes or invoices. If your expenses are to pay for someone who is dependent on you then you may need to provide evidence of your relationship and living situation.

 

This information page on the ATO website explains how to complete your application and what to expect after you submit it.

2. Wait for the ATO’s response
2. Wait for the ATO’s response

The ATO will assess your application and let you know within 14 days (or 28 days for a paper application) if your application was approved. They may contact you during this time if they need more information. 

 

You’ll receive a letter and a phone call or SMS to let you know the outcome.

3. Ask us to make a payment from your super
3. Ask us to make a payment from your super

If the ATO approves your request, the next step is to complete our Compassionate Grounds Application Form so we can release your super.

 

You can send us the form by post or submit it via e-Post after logging into our online portal. 

 

You’ll need to print the form so it can be signed and witnessed. If you don't have a printer, please let us know and we’ll post you the form.

4. Receive your payment
4. Receive your payment

Once we’ve reviewed and approved your application, we’ll make the payment to the bank account you nominate on the form.

 

If you request to withdraw your entire super balance, we’ll close your account and cancel any insurance cover you have for that account. If there’s still money left in your super, your account will remain open and your insurance cover will continue. 

Financial hardship

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to meet your family and living expenses, and you can’t make repayments on any loans or debt you may have, you may be eligible to access some of your super to assist you with your financial hardship.  

 

As your super fund, we’re authorised to approve an early release of your super for financial hardship reasons if you meet specific criteria. 

 

How much can you withdraw?

There are two ways that you can qualify for financial hardship. The amount you can release from super under this provision will depend on which test you satisfy:

Test 1
Test 2
Test 1

You can apply for a single lump sum payment of up to $10,000 in a 12-month period. Generally, the minimum withdrawal amount is $1,000 unless you have less than $1,000 in your super account, in which case you can withdraw it all.

 

To qualify, you must: 

  • •  currently receive eligible Commonwealth income support payments
  • •  have been receiving these payments for the last 26 consecutive weeks
  • •  be unable to meet your immediate family living expenses
  • •  have not received any financial hardship payments from the fund in the last 12 months.

 

Test 1

You can apply to withdraw as much as you want from your super if you:

  •   have reached your preservation age plus 39 weeks 
  • •  have received eligible Commonwealth income support payments for a total of at least 39 weeks after reaching your preservation age
  • •  haven’t been employed part-time or full-time in that period for 10 or more hours each week.

 

 

What are eligible income support payments?

Income support payments include:

  • Age Pension
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension
  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Parenting Payment
  • Special Benefit
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • DVA Income Support Supplement
  • DVA Service Pension

 

How to apply for early release of super for financial hardship

1. Call us
1. Call us

Before you do anything else, please call us on 13 13 36 so we can help you determine whether you may be eligible to access some of your super. We’ll discuss your options and assist with the next steps. 

2. Download and complete our application form
2. Download and complete our application form

If you’re eligible to apply to access some of you super, please download and complete our Financial Hardship Application form

 

You can send us the form by post or submit it via e-Post after logging into our online portal.

 

You’ll need to print the form so it can be signed and witnessed. If you don't have a printer, please let us know and we’ll post you the form.

3. Receive your payment
3. Receive your payment

Once we’ve reviewed and approved your application, we’ll make the payment to the bank account you nominate on the form.

 

If you request to withdraw your entire super balance, we’ll close your account and cancel any insurance cover you have for that account. If there’s still money left in your super, your account will remain open and your insurance cover will continue.

Other considerations

Before you apply to withdraw money from your super on compassionate grounds or for financial hardship reasons, please keep these things in mind:

  • If you have insurance in your super and you withdraw all your money from your super account, your insurance cover will end. If you want to keep your insurance cover, you may want to consider keeping some money in your super account. 
  • Under super legislation, super funds must deduct tax before making a compassionate grounds or financial hardship payment from your super. The amount of tax will depend on your age and other circumstances. It will generally be up to 22% of the payment amount. If you’re over 60, no tax is deducted. You can read more about how super payments are taxed on the ATO website.
  • Generally, your superannuation is exempt from the Centrelink income or assets tests when you are below age pension age. Withdrawals from super may impact your or your partner’s Centrelink entitlements.

Other ways to get help

If you’re facing a difficult time, you may find the following independent resources helpful:

Government crisis payment. Provides a one-off payment if you’re in severe financial hardship because of extreme circumstances.

'Ask Izzy' Infoxchange Service Seeker. Online directory of health, welfare and community services. 

National Debt Helpline. Not-for-profit financial counselling service that helps you tackle your debt problems.

ASIC Moneysmart. Government organisation that helps you take control of your money with free tools, tips and guidance.

Lifeline. 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services available online. Visit the website or call 13 11 14.

1800RESPECT. 24-hour support for people impacted by domestic, family or sexual violence. Visit the website or call 1800 737 732.

MensLine Australia. Counselling, advice and support for Australian men. Visit the website or call 1300 789 978.

 

These independent resources are intended as a guide and are not an endorsement that the service provided is appropriate for your personal circumstances. For more information on a service provider’s offerings and their appropriateness, you should contact the service provider directly using the contact details provided.

What’s next?

Grow your super

Grow your super

Learn how to boost your super savings, and how it can benefit you. 

 

Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning

Create a strategy for your wealth that helps you retire with financial freedom, security, and purpose.

Consolidate your super

Consolidate your super

Bring all your super into one account and save on management fees. 

 

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Information on this webpage is provided by Avanteos Investments Limited ABN 20 096 259 979, AFSL 245531 and Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468. It may include general advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial situation, needs or tax circumstances.  You can find the target market determinations (TMD) for our financial products at www.cfs.com.au/tmd, which include a description of who a financial product might suit. You should read the Financial Services Guide (FSG) available online for information about our services.

 

Tax considerations are general and based on present tax laws and may be subject to change. You should seek independent, professional tax advice before making any decision based on this information.

 

AIL and CFSIL are not registered tax (financial) advisers under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 and you should seek tax advice from a registered tax agent or a registered tax (financial) adviser if you intend to rely on this information to satisfy the liabilities or obligations or claim entitlements that arise under a tax law.