When can you withdraw your super?

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HomeBlogWhen can you withdraw your super?
Superannuation is money saved for your retirement. Employer super contributions begin when you start working and meet the eligibility requirements for your employer to pay super guarantee (SG) contributions to your super account.
As super is intended for your retirement, generally you can only withdraw your super:
  • when you turn 65 (even if you haven’t retired),
  • when you reach preservation age and retire.
Your preservation age is the age you can access your super if you have retired. Your preservation age will depend on your date of birth.

Early access to your super

There are some special exceptions where you may be able to withdraw your super earlier if you meet the eligibility requirements:

1. First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS)

The FHSSS was introduced by the Australian Government to help people save a deposit for their first home. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you could apply to access contributions you have made via personal contributions or through salary sacrificing. Read more about FHSSS.

2. Severe financial hardship

You may be able to withdraw super if you meet both of the following conditions;
  • you have received eligible government income support payment continuously for 26 weeks, and
  • you’re not able meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses.
You can only make one withdrawal in any 12-month period. The super you withdraw is paid and taxed as a lump sum. The tax rate will depend on various factors such as your age.
You will need to contact your super fund to request access and provide the appropriate evidence.

3. Compassionate grounds

You may be able to withdraw super on compassionate grounds which include needing money for; medical treatment, payments on a home loan to prevent foreclosure of your home, accommodating a disability or expenses associated with death.
The amount you can withdraw will be limited to the amount you require to meet the unpaid expense. The withdrawal is paid and taxed as a lump sum. The tax rate will depend on various factors such as your age.
There is more information on the ATO website and how to apply.

4. Other reasons

There are a limited number of other circumstances where you may be eligible to apply to withdraw from your super. The ATO website has the complete list.

Protect your super

When considering to withdraw from your super before retirement, make sure you meet a condition of release - otherwise, withdrawing from your super early could be considered as illegal. Fines and penalties could apply.
It’s important to be wary of organisations and people who encourage you to withdraw your super early without legitimate reasons. The ATO website has more information about this and how you can report these individuals.
How you manage your super money now can make a big difference to how much fun your life can be in the years to come. If you need some free and confidential advice about accessing your super early, consider speaking to a financial counsellor. The Moneysmart website has a list of helplines and a map to help you find one near you.
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