Although superannuation is your money, there are rules about accessing superannuation that set out when you can withdraw it. Under Australian law, your superannuation is designed to support you once you retire from the workforce. So when can you access your money?
Accessing superannuation once you reach preservation age
After your 65th birthday, you’re free to withdraw your superannuation at any time. This is the most common time people access their super.
If you’re born after 30 June 1964, you can access your super between age 60 and 64, but only if you leave your employer. If you’re older than this, you can access your super slightly earlier.
You put money into super before 1 July 1999
You can withdraw money you put into your superannuation before 1 July 1999. Any super you have from before this time will be classified under two different categories.
- The first is ‘unrestricted non-preserved’. You can withdraw this amount whenever you want.
- The other is ‘restricted non-preserved’. You can only withdraw this amount if you leave your employer.
There are times in your life where you may experience financial hardship and be unable to pay your bills. If this happens, you may be able to access some of your super.
The government also allows people to access their super under ‘compassionate’ grounds. This could include paying for medical treatment, mortgage repayments, modifying your home due to a severe disability or paying for a funeral.
If you want to access your super for these reasons, you need to apply through the Department of Human Services, not your super fund.
Accessing superannuation at other times
- You become incapacitated or terminally ill. Also, if you die, your dependents can claim your super.
- If you have less than $200 in a super account you’re not contributing money to, you can withdraw the entire amount.
- You were a temporary resident who has permanently left Australia.
- If you put more into super than the government allows in one financial year, you can withdraw up to 85% of the excess amount.