People often think of superannuation as being a savings account for your retirement. But in certain situations, you can access your superannuation early before you reach retirement age or depending on your situation. If you want to access your superannuation early, you need to contact your fund directly to find out what supporting evidence you should provide before starting your claim application.
Under normal circumstances, you can withdraw your accumulation account balance when you reach your 'preservation age'. This is the age you can access your super when you retire or have started transition to retirement. In Australia, your preservation age depends on when you were born:
If you haven't yet reached your preservation age, there are circumstances under which you can access super early.
The most common reason we see people accessing their super early is on the grounds of permanent incapacity. This is when people are unable to work due to an injury or illness and are able to access their total and permanent disablement (TPD) insurance.
Most super funds include TPD cover. If you're in a financial predicament and can’t wait for the TPD assessment and payment, you might consider withdrawing your super early on the grounds of permanent incapacity.
You might choose to lodge a claim for early release of super on compassionate grounds. Examples include needing:
If you're living with a terminal illness, you can make a claim to access your super early. Making a claim for early access to super based on terminal illness requires a medical certificate from two doctors, including a specialist. The certificate needs to state that you suffer from an illness that’s likely to result in your death within 24 months.
You can make a claim to access super early if the fund’s value is under $200. For instance, let's say you started to make contributions to a new super account. But once you change employers, you stop putting money into that fund. In this instance your fund isn't growing — it's just a balance sitting there. If the dollar value of this balance is less than $200 you can apply to withdraw the money.
The First Home Super Saver Scheme was established by the Australian Government to help Australians save the deposit to buy their first home. From 1 July 2018, you can withdraw up to $30,000 of voluntary contributions made after 1 July 2017 from your superannuation account.
If you want to access your superannuation early, you need to contact your fund directly to find out what documentation is required and what the process is for starting your early super claim application.
All superannuation funds have different processes and regulations for withdrawing your super early. In situations where you are looking to access your super early due to injury or illness, Maurice Blackburn can help you find out if you have insurance cover and are eligible to make an insurance claim instead of, or as well as, accessing your super early.
It’s difficult to estimate how long a claim for early super withdrawal may take, because there are no statutory time limits for the fund to make a decision. It’s a good idea to regularly prompt them for updates regarding your application.
Ensure the information and documentation you provide are complete and support the eligibility criteria. For example, if someone falls short of the requirements for a terminal medical condition, or if the fund disagrees that a person is permanently incapacitated, it may decline the early release of super on those grounds.
You don’t necessarily need a superannuation lawyer to draw down or withdraw on your account balance – you can approach your super fund directly for these claims. However, you may need to contact a tax advisor or accountant to find out whether any tax is payable on the superannuation amount withdrawn.
If you want to make a claim on the grounds of permanent incapacity, and you also have insurance on your superannuation account, you might also have a claim for TPD.
This is where we can help. Maurice Blackburn Lawyers can carry out free investigations with your super fund to find out whether you do have insurance cover and, if so, what level of cover you have. Get in touch with us today to discuss your options for making a superannuation insurance claim.
If you're unable to work due to illness or injury, you may be eligible to make a claim on your superannuation insurance. Your injury can be physical or psychological and doesn't need to be work-related. We can help you understand what options are available to you.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.