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Early access to super

Superannuation is designed to help you save for your retirement, so there are rules around when you can access it. Once you've turned 65 or reached your preservation age (55 – 60 years) and retired, it’s generally straight forward to withdraw your super.

Withdrawing your super early may be possible, but only under special circumstances outlined below.

Scams & illegal schemes

Please note some promoters claim to offer early access to your super by transferring your super into a self-managed super fund. These schemes are illegal and heavy penalties can apply. To learn more visit the ATO website: Illegal early release of super.

COVID-19 and early access to super

If you are in financial stress as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible to access up to $10,000 of your superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

Please note: you cannot apply through Sunsuper, you'll need to apply directly to the ATO through the myGov website.


Financial hardship

If you are suffering from financial difficulties, including if you have been affected by the bushfires across Australia, in certain circumstances Sunsuper members can apply for early release of their super. The government also offers a range of assistance options. For specific information about government support for people affected by the bushfires, you can also visit the Services Australia website.


Compassionate grounds

You can apply to the Government to access your super early if:

  • You or your family have significant medical costs (including medical transport, or costs for house or car modifications due to disability)
  • Your house is at risk of being sold by your mortgage lender
  • You need to pay for palliative care
  • You need to cover the funeral expenses of a dependent

To apply for early access to your super: 

  1. Complete a claim form via the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website
  2. Return your application form to the ATO
  3. If your application is approved, you then need to forward the letter of approval (or a certified copy) along with our Early release of super on compassionate grounds form

Permanent incapacity

If you suffer a medical condition that will prevent you from ever working again, you can apply to access your super early.

To apply for early access to your super:

  1. Complete the Permanent incapacity form
  2. Provide the required documentation, including ID and medical verification. You’ll need two different legally qualified medical practitioners to assess you and declare that you’ll not likely be employed in a capacity for which you’re reasonably qualified due to a physical or mental condition. One of these practitioners must be a specialist in the field of medicine related to the illness or injury causing your incapacity.

Temporary residents leaving Australia

If you’ve entered Australia on an eligible temporary resident visa, you may be able to withdraw your super as a Departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP) once you’ve left Australia.


First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme

First home buyers can add extra money (additional contributions) into your super, then withdraw the money you contributed and put this towards your house deposit.


We're here to help

If you need advice on accessing your super early, you can call us on 13 11 84.