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When can you access your super?

Super is only for when you retire, right? Well not quite. There are a few times in life when you might have a valid reason to get hold of some of your super savings. 

When is it time to access your super?

Super is your savings for retirement. So it makes sense that there is an age you have to reach to get access to the funds you’ve saved. 

When you reach what we call your preservation age, you can access your super if you permanently retire. That age depends on when you were born but for most people the age is 60. This table tells you when you can access your super based on how old you are right now:

Date of birth 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
From 1 July 1964 60

So you’re old enough, now what?

Once you’ve celebrated the birthday that applies to you, there’s another box to tick before you get access to your super. We call this a condition of release and leaving the workforce for good is one of these conditions. So if you retire for good after reaching your preservation age, you can get your hands on your super.
If you change jobs on or after turning 60, you can continue to work and also access your super. Or you can wait until you reach age 65 and access your super, even if you’re still working. 

If you become totally and permanently disabled before your preservation age, you’ll also be able to access your super.  

Can you access your super before age 55-60?

Yes. But the Federal Government has very strict guidelines on when and why you can access you super early. Once in a while there are exceptions to these very limited conditions. Take the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic when it was possible for people to withdraw up to $10,000 from their super if they had lost income because of the COVID pandemic.

The window for this early withdrawal of super has closed now. But there are some other circumstances where you can apply to the Australian Tax Office to access a limited amount under compassionate grounds from your super before retirement, when you are in need of financial help, to:

  • Stop you from losing a home you own because you can’t pay the mortgage.
  • Cover the cost of medical treatment, palliative care and/or disability services for you or a dependent. 
  • Cover the cost of a funeral or burial arrangements for a dependent. 

You can also apply to your super fund for early access if you:

  • Are experiencing severe financial hardship, can’t pay basic expenses for you and your family and have been paid income support benefits like JobSeeker continuously for at least 6 months.
  • Have a terminal illness.
  • Become incapacitated either, temporarily or permanently.

Is it a problem to access super early?

Any amount you take from super now is less money for when you retire. Of course, if being short of money is forcing hardship and stress on you now, and you have a legitimate reason to access your super, withdrawing an amount to take the pressure off makes sense. But it’s a good idea to get information on your other options before taking this step.

Find out more about getting help with your super

Can I really access my super to pay my first home deposit?

Yes you can. The First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) could see you on your way to owning your first home sooner:

  • You can only access any extra payments you have made into super for the purpose of saving for a home loan – and also investment returns those extra savings have created. 
  • You can keep these payments in super until you’re ready to buy.
  • While you do this you can be saving on tax – both on the money you’re earning from investing your super savings, which is taxed within super at 15%, and from the tax you could save by making extra payments into super from your pre-tax salary – these are called concessional or salary sacrificed contributions.

Find out more about making extra super payments 


You can use your super to save for ...

Did you know?

Super savings are for when you retire. With the First Home Super Savers Scheme you can make extra contributions into super and withdraw these later for buying your first home. 


You can withdraw your super if you retire:

Did you know?

You can access the full balance of your super after reaching your preservation age. But even then, you need to meet a condition of release – these include retiring permanently from the workforce or reaching age 65. If you’re experiencing severe financial hardship you can apply to your super fund or the ATO to access a limited amount of your super early to cover certain costs.

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