Skip to main content

Is Retirement the only way I can get my Superannuation?

By January 29, 2021July 7th, 2022No Comments

We accumulate superannuation all our working lives. For 40 odd years our employer (as sometimes us) add to our retirement nest egg. 

But when can we access this money?

Although no longer offered, the recent Early access to super provisions in response to the Corona Virus has highlighted there are other times that we can access our funds. But how many ways are there?


The most common way to access your superannuation is after you have reached preservation age and have retired.

Your preservation age is dependent on when you were born as the government tries to push the age out to 60. 

Date of birthPreservation age
Before 1 July 196055
1 July 1960 – 30 June 196156
1 July 1961 – 30 June 196257
1 July 1962 – 30 June 196358
1 July 1963 – 30 June 196459
From 1 July 196460
Source: ATO

Transition to Retirement (TTR)

For those who have reached their preservation age, but not retired from the workforce. You can access your superannuation in the form of a pension. You may want to do this to reduce your work hours but maintain your cashflow.  You may also use a TTR to boost your superannuation. 

There are specific rules in relation to a TTR so it is best to seek professional advice to make sure it is suitable for you.


For those aged over 65, you would typically have full access to your superannuation regardless of your work status. 

Other situations where you may access your super.

There are some rare cases where you may access your super before preservation age.  We earlier mentioned the Government’s Covid response – which could be seen as somewhat compassionate grounds. 

Below are some other examples of when you can make an application to access your superannuation early:

Compassionate Grounds

You may apply to access your superannuation on compassionate grounds in order to meet expenses. These are usually not day-to-day expenses. The ATO’s examples of such payments are: 

  • medical treatment and medical transport for you or your dependant
  • making a payment on a home loan or council rates so you don’t lose your home
  • modifying your home or vehicle or buying disability aids to cater for the severe disability of you or your dependant
  • palliative care for you or your dependant
  • expenses associated with the death, funeral or burial of your dependant.2

Severe Financial Hardship

If you have been receiving financial support from the government for 26 consecutive weeks, you can apply to withdraw some funds from your superannuation if you cannot meet reasonable living expenses. 

Permanent Disability 

If you suffer an injury or illness that stops you from being able to work, you may apply to access your superannuation in the form of a pension. 

Terminal Illness

If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness where you are not likely to live past 2 years, you can apply to withdraw your superannuation balance.

Departing Australia 

Temporary residents who accumulate superannuation while working in Australia can apply to withdraw their super once you leave Australia. There is a certain criteria that must be met including the type of Visa used to work here. 

Small Balances 

If you have a superannuation account that has a balance of less than $200, you can apply to withdraw the balance. 

The Superannuation Scheme was introduced to compliment and eventually replace the age pension system. As such, any access to your superannuation before retirement will affect your final retirement nest egg. 

Before you do anything concerning your superannuation, it is important to get professional advice, as a small change now may mean big changes to your retirement plans. 

If you need any assistance, contact us for a no obligation Discovery Meeting. 

Discovery Wealth – The Hills trusted name in Financial Advice. 

  1. Early access on compassionate grounds.

The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author; they are not reflective or indicative of RI Advice Group’s position and are not to be attributed to RI Advice Group. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author. Louella Jorge is an Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Ltd, ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429. This editorial does not consider your personal circumstances and is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account any of your individual objectives, financial solutions or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statements and seek personal advice from a qualified financial adviser before you act.

Discovery Wealth Advisers

Author Discovery Wealth Advisers

More posts by Discovery Wealth Advisers
Call Now Button