Early Access to Superannuation

Access on compassionate grounds

You may be allowed to withdraw some of your super on compassionate grounds.

Compassionate grounds include if you need to:

  • Pay for medical treatment for you or a dependant
  • Make a payment on a loan to prevent you from losing your house
  • Modify your home or vehicle for the special needs of you or a dependant because of a severe disability
  • Pay for expenses associated with a death, funeral or burial

The amount of super that you can withdraw on compassionate grounds is limited to what is reasonably needed.

A super withdrawal on compassionate grounds is paid as a lump sum.

You can apply to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for a release of super on compassionate grounds. There are no special tax rates for a super withdrawal on compassionate grounds.

Access to super for members with a terminal medical condition

Condition of release:

You can release super benefits if they have a terminal medical condition. A terminal medical condition exists if:

  • Two registered medical practitioners have certified, jointly or separately, that the member suffers from an illness, or has incurred an injury that is likely to result in the member’s death within 24 months of the date of certification
  • At least one of the registered medical practitioners is a specialist practicing in an area related to the member’s illness or injury
  • The certification period has not ended for each of the certificates

Grounds for early access to superannuation vary between funds, and some funds don’t allow it at all. Contact your fund to check if you can access your superannuation early.

If you apply for access to super due to terminal illness, your payments will not be taxed.

Payments made under all other grounds will be taxed. For more information, click here.

Super payouts and Centrelink

Receiving a lump sum payment or income stream from your super fund may affect your entitlement to receive Centrelink payments.

If you currently receive payments from Centrelink, you need to let them know within 14 days if your circumstances change. ‘Changed circumstances’ includes receiving a new payment from your super fund. If you don’t tell Centrelink about the change, you may need to pay back some or all of your Centrelink benefits.

For more information, visit your local Centrelink office, log onto or call the self-service line on 13 62 40.