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Early Access to Superannuation

How you can get early access to your superannuation if you face hardship.

It is now very hard to get access to occupational superannuation before your retirement. However there are still some circumstances where you can get access to your super. These circumstances are set out below.

Severe financial hardship

If you have been receiving a Department of Social Security payment or Veterans Affairs pension for the previous 12 months you are eligible to apply for early access. If you are over 55 years and 39 weeks you can apply after 9 months.

You must supply evidence of your receipt of the benefit in the application for early access. You can get a letter from the relevant department by calling telephone number 132300 for Centrelink pensions; 132850 for Centrelink benefits.

This letter is only valid for 21 days from the date of issue.
The maximum amount that can be released in this situation is $15,000 and the minimum is $1000. There is no maximum for those aged over 55 years.
Applications are made in writing directly to the relevant superannuation fund, outlining circumstances.

Compassionate grounds

It is also possible to apply to have your super released early on compassionate grounds. To make an application under compassionate grounds you need to show that funds are required for

Medical treatment or transport for you or your dependents for a life threatening illness or the relief of acute pain or alleviation of a mental disturbance. This must be certified by two medical practitioners, one a specialist; or modifications to home/vehicle because of a disability; or to prevent foreclosure of a mortgage on the member's principal place of residence. The maximum that can be released is 12 months repayments. You will need to supply evidence from the mortgagee (lender) that foreclosure is about to happen.

If you would like to make an application you should contact the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Applications must be made on the appropriate form.

Forms are available from that office (contact: 02 63213 5298, or toll free 131060), or from most Funds. It takes about 4 weeks for them to process an application.

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