When can I access my super?
Conditions of release for your Self-managed Super Fund
A number of conditions need to be met for you to gain access to your super. This usually happens when you reach your ‘preservation age’ and retire, but there are special circumstances which allow you early access. Let’s take a look.
Accessing your super
You can withdraw your super once you're 65, even if you're still working.
Until then, there are strict conditions placed on accessing your super.
If you permanently retire before you turn 65 and don’t meet the criteria for special circumstances, you can’t get your super until you reach your 'preservation age'. Your preservation age depends on when you were born.
|Your date of birth||Age you can access your super (preservation age)|
|Before 1 July 1960||55|
|1 July 1960 — 30 June 1961||56|
|1 July 1961 — 30 June 1962||57|
|1 July 1962 — 30 June 1963||58|
|1 July 1963 — 30 June 1964||59|
|After 1 July 1964||60|
You’re not permanently retired
If you’ve reached your preservation age but haven't permanently retired, you can access part of your super via a transition to retirement pension.
Death of a member
When a self-managed super fund member dies, the fund generally pays a death benefit to a dependent or beneficiary of the deceased. This should be done as soon as possible after the member's death.
If the recipient is a dependent of the deceased, the benefit can be paid as an income stream or a lump sum. The income stream can be new or a continuation of an existing income stream.
If the recipient is not a dependant of the deceased, the death benefit must be paid as a lump sum.
Accessing your super early
There are special circumstances which allow you to access your super before you reach your preservation age:
Incapacity — if you're unable to work or need to work fewer hours because of a medical condition. This can be permanent or temporary incapacity.
Severe financial hardship — if you can't meet your living expenses and have been receiving Commonwealth benefits for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks.
Compassionate grounds — to pay for unpaid expenses. These could include medical treatment, modifying your home or vehicle because of a severe disability, funeral. expenses, or to make a loan repayment to prevent you losing your home.
Terminal medical condition — if you have a terminal illness or injury.
First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme — members can save for their first home inside their super with voluntary concessional and non-concessional contributions. When ready, you can request a release of personal contributions since 1 July 2017, along with associated earnings.
Terminating gainful employment — Subject to the governing rules of your fund, where a member (who has not met another condition of release) has ceased employment with an employer, on termination:
After attaining the age of 60, even if the member commences employment with another employer, the member’s balance will become “unrestricted / non preserved” thus able to access their balance at any time without any cashing restrictions.
A member may cash out their super where their super balance is less than $200.
Where unrestricted non-preserved components of a member’s balance exists, the unrestricted non-preserved balance may be cashed out on request from the member (no cashing restrictions exists).
If you need to access your super for any of these reasons, we can help you:
- Understand your options,
- Know how to apply,
- Manage other expenses like household budgets and business costs.
We pride ourselves on our personal and thorough service, contact us and we can help ease a difficult time for you. There are heavy penalties for breaking the rules around accessing your super early, it’s important to get it right.
COVID-19 and early access to super
You can apply to access up to $10,000 of your super if you have been financially affected by the coronavirus until 31 December 2020.
Needless to say, your super is intended to be your retirement savings. Be sure to carefully consider all of your options before applying for early access.
Dot your i’s and cross your t’s
As trustee, you must ensure that the member has met a condition of release before releasing any funds. Don’t forget to also check that the governing rules of your fund allow it. Some benefits are payable under super laws but not under the rules of your self-managed super fund.
Usually, rollovers to other super funds don’t require the member to satisfy a condition of release, subject to the governing rules of your fund.
Payments of benefits to members who have not met a condition of release are not treated as super benefits. Instead, they’ll be taxed as ordinary income at the member’s marginal tax rate, and significant penalties may also apply to you as trustee and to your fund.
It’s important to get this right and avoid mistakes, for clear and expert guidance.