Accessing super early
It is normally quite rare for people to access their super early, and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has put strict conditions on the circumstances in which it is allowed. Situations in which you may be eligible for early release of super include:
- Compassionate grounds, such as to pay for medical treatment and/or palliative care for you or your dependant;
- Extreme financial hardship where you can’t meet family living expenses even with Government income support payments;
- Confirmed diagnosis with a terminal illness or medical condition which is likely to result in death within 24 months;
- Temporary incapacity to work due to a physical or mental condition;
- Permanent incapacity to work due to a permanent physical or mental condition;
- A super balance under $200;
- Participation in the First Home Super Saver Scheme.
Each of these has their own strict eligibility criteria and conditions attached, so check out the ATO Early Release of Super information page for more detail.
Other things to consider when accessing your super early
If you’re considering early release of super, there are a few things that you can do or consider before you make your decision:
- If you’re struggling to meet loan repayments, your lender might be able to help you by pausing or reducing your repayments. If you’re a member with People’s Choice, you can find information on how we’re helping our members through COVID-19 here;
- Check with your super fund about how withdrawing super will affect your insurance cover. If you have life and income protection cover through your super fund, drawing on your balance too far might mean you lose cover;
- Consider how you might eventually replace the money you withdraw now. Super is a long-term investment, so any money withdrawn and spent now won’t earn interest for the future.
Should I access my super early?
This is an important question with no one-size-fits-all answer. Super is a valuable investment for your future.
Withdrawing money from your super account early is a big decision — that money is normally reserved for your retirement years and is usually designed to be invested so that it increases in value over time. Withdrawing super early can come at the cost of seeing that money grow into the future.
If you aren’t sure if withdrawing super early is the right decision for you, it might be worth your time to speak to a Financial Planner and get some personalised advice to suit your individual needs. A Financial Planner will help you assess your current situation so you can make the best decision to meet your current and future financial needs.