While super is generally locked away until you reach a definition of “retirement”, you may be allowed early access to some of your super under some special circumstances.

There are stringent eligibility checks that you need to meet before you access your super. The penalties for illegally accessing your super early are severe.

Some of the special circumstances where you may access your super early include:

Permanent incapacity

  • If our Trustee Board decides that you will be unable to work ever again due to disablement, you may be eligible to receive a Total and Permanent Disablement Insurance benefit (if you have insurance through your super) and the balance of your super account.
  • Read more on our insurance webpage


early financial hardship

Severe financial hardship

  • You may have access to between $1,000 and $10,000 gross (that is, before tax) from your super if you meet the definition of suffering severe financial hardship.
  • You will pay tax on the amount you access, usually between 17% and 22%, if you are under 60 years old.
  • Part of the eligibility is that you have been in receipt of relevant Centrelink payments for a specified period.
  • Read more about financial hardship


early medical transfer

Compassionate grounds

  • The ATO has compiled a list of the specific situations that are considered ‘compassionate grounds’.
  • These include medical expenses, palliative care and to prevent foreclosure of your home. These are only examples of some of the situations.
  • Read more about compassionate grounds.

A terminal medical condition

  • If 2 registered medical practitioners (at least one of which is a specialist in an area related to the illness or injury you are suffering from) certify that you are suffering from an illness or injury which is likely to result in your death within 2 years, you may be allowed to access your super now.
  • There are specific criteria you need to meet to access your super under the terminal medical condition ruling.
  • Read more on the ATO’s website.



The First Home Super Saver Scheme

  • If you meet all of the eligibility criteria and you have made voluntary contributions to super to save for your first home, you may be able to access up to $50,000 of your own contributions to put towards a deposit on your first home.
  • There are strict criteria that apply, including the types of contributions that count towards this scheme and how you access the money through the ATO.
  • Read more about the First Home Super Saver Scheme.

Read more about the criteria for each of these circumstances on the ATO website or at the links above.


As we mentioned at the top of the page, there are severe penalties for illegal early access of your super. Please ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria before you access your super.

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