When can you access your super?

10-Mar-2016

Superannuation is designed to fund your retirement, so there are restrictions surrounding when and how you may access it.

Reaching your preservation age or age 65?

Most of your superannuation savings are ‘preserved’. This means you generally cannot withdraw your super until you reach your preservation age (or you meet one of the special circumstances described later). Your preservation age will vary depending on your date of birth, as outlined in the table.

DATE OF BIRTH PRESERVATION
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 to 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 to 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 to 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964 59
1 July 1964 and after 60

´┐╝Once you reach the age of 65, your superannuation becomes non-preserved. Generally, this means you will have unrestricted access to your super.

Retirement

When you reach your preservation age and retire permanently from the workforce, you have unrestricted access to your super. This means you can make a withdrawal as a lump sum, take a regular income in the form of a pension, or a combination of both.

Transition to retirement

If you reach your preservation age but have not retired, you can access your super as a regular income through a transition to retirement pension. You may not be able to take a lump sum until you retire or reach age 65.

Accessing non-preserved amounts

You may have non-preserved superannuation if you or your employer made voluntary contributions before 1 July 1999, or if you are aged 65 or over. Check your most recent statement to see if you have a non-preserved amount, and whether or not it is restricted.

If you are still employed by the company who opened your account the non-preserved amount may be restricted. If this is the case, you may not access it until you cease employment with that company. If your non-preserved amount is unrestricted you may access it at any time.

Temporary Residents

If you were in Australia temporarily and are now leaving the country permanently you can apply directly to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for early release of benefits. Visit www.ato.gov.au

Special circumstances allowing early release

Under the current Government legislation, there are some special circumstances which allow you to access your super earlier.

Financial hardship

If you are suffering severe financial hardship you may be eligible to apply to have some funds released to you.

To be eligible to claim under the financial hardship provisions, you must:

  • have been receiving an eligible Centrelink income support payment for at least 26 weeks, which must be evidenced by a confirmation letter issued by Centrelink within 21 days of your claim; and
  • satisfy the Trustee that you are unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses.

If you are aged 55 years and 39 weeks or more, an alternative test of severe financial hardship may be applied. You must:

  • have received a Centrelink income support payment for a cumulative period of 39 weeks after reaching age 55; and
  • not be gainfully employed on a full-time or part-time basis on the date of your application to the Trustee.

If you qualify for a financial hardship payment, up to $10,000 before tax may be released to you. Only one hardship payment may be made every 12 months.

Specified grounds

You may apply to the Department of Human Services (DHS) to have an amount released to you early if you require it for one of the following specified circumstances:

  • medical or dental treatment for you or your dependent
  • transport for medical or dental treatment for you or your dependent
  • arrears on your mortgage to prevent your home being sold by your lender
  • modification to your home or vehicle to accommodate a severe disability for you or your dependent
  • palliative care for a terminal illness for you or your dependent
  • expenses associated with your dependent’s death, funeral or burial

DHS have the discretion to order the release of any amount they feel necessary to meet the costs associated with these specified grounds.

If your application is approved, you will need to send DHS’s letter of approval to us with a completed Withdrawal Form and relevant certified identification as specified on the form.

Need advice?

Discover the difference expert advice can make to your super and retirement options.

As a VISSF member, you can now access an extensive range of advice services. A qualified financial planner from our Advice Team can help you answer single questions like:

  • Do I have enough money to retire?
  • How much money do I need to retire?
  • How long will my money last?
  • Which investment option is right for me?
  • Should I salary sacrifice?
  • Should I consolidate my super? How?
  • Do I have enough insurance cover to protect myself and my family?

You can also access simple retirement planning advice from VISSF, including advice about:

  • Effective contribution strategies
  • How to work less and access your super to top up your income
  • How to convert your super into a regular income stream

And if you need more comprehensive financial advice, the VISSF Advice Team can arrange a face-to-face meeting with a financial planner. The first meeting is complimentary.

Call 1300 660 027 to take advantage of our new financial advice services for members.

Have any questions?

Call us: 1300 660 027

Website: www.vissf.com.au

Email: super@vissf.com.au

Click here to download this article as a PDF Fact Sheet.

This fact sheet is issued by the Trustee of The Victorian Independent Schools Superannuation Fund (ABN 37 024 873 660, RSE Registration number R1000436, MySuper Authorisation 37024873660599) VIS Nominees Pty Ltd (ABN 11 006 586 367 Australian Financial Services Licence number 235097. Registrable Superannuation Entity Licence number L0000321). It contains general advice only. In preparing this fact sheet, the Trustee has not taken into account your objectives, financial circumstances or needs. Before making any financial decisions, you should consider your personal circumstances and seek appropriate independent advice. The individual case study samples are for illustrative purposes only.

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