Generally, you cannot access your superannuation before you reach your preservation age (now at least 56 years and up to 60 years for those born on or after 1 July 1960) and you have retired. However there are limited circumstances where the law allows you to access your superannuation early including:
- Severe financial hardship
- Compassionate grounds
- Permanent departure from Australia
- Terminal illness
- Permanent incapacity
- Balance of $200 or less
What is severe financial hardship?
To qualify for severe financial hardship you must have been receiving a a Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) pension (depending on which body makes your income support payments) for more than 26 weeks and be unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses such as mortgage payments, rent, school fees, child support payments. If you satisfy the conditions the trustee of your superannuation fund may give you access to a portion of your benefit (no more than $10,000 in any 12 month period) subject to certain conditions.
What are compassionate grounds?
Compassionate grounds include
- suffering a life-threatening illness;
- trying to prevent the bank selling your home;
- medical treatment expenses;
- funeral expenses;
- palliative care;
- modifications to home and/or vehicle where you or your dependant suffers a severe disability.
The way you apply for early access to your super will depend on the category of claim you are making.
Applications are made to either your super fund or where the application is on compassionate grounds to the Department or Human Services. For cases of severe financial hardship you must provide evidence of debts and expenses to support your application.
Segelov Taylor can provide advice as to whether you are eligible to access your superannuation, assist you to obtain information from your superannuation fund as to your entitlements and to complete the necessary application forms.