When and how can I access super in Australia?

Answer

Even if you're not close to retirement, you might be wondering about when and how you can access your super. Generally, it's after you've retired, but there are times when you can access your super earlier, provided you meet certain conditions.

When can I access my super?

Usually, you can access your super:

  • when you've reached your preservation age and retire (see table below)
  • when you cease an employment arrangement after turning 60
  • when you've reached age 65 (even if you haven't retired), or
  • through a transition to retirement (TTR) income stream.

Can I access my super early?

Yes, you can access your super early, but only under certain circumstances.

  • Incapacity – you must be permanently or temporarily disabled.
  • Severe financial hardship – different rules apply based on your age, but as a minimum requirement, you will need to have received Commonwealth benefits for a specified period.
  • Compassionate grounds – for example, if you must pay for medical bills when you're seriously ill.
  • Terminal medical condition – if you have been appropriately diagnosed with a terminal illness that is likely to result in your death within 24 months.

Find out more about how you can access your super in special circumstances, read early release of superannuation.

What is my preservation age?

This is usually the earliest age you’re able to start accessing your super. It ranges from age 55 to 60, depending on when you were born.

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

Transition to retirement strategies

One of the ways to get access to your super before you retire is through a transition to retirement (TTR) income stream. Read about changes to TTR tax exemptions from 1 July 2017.

If you're not ready to give up work yet and still want to save for your retirement, you have two choices. You may be able to use a TTR income stream to either:

  1. Reduce your hours at work, receive the same amount of income by topping up your reduced salary with income from your TTR income stream, or
  2. Keep working the same hours, contribute more to your super through salary sacrifice and supplement your income with a TTR pension.

Find out more about how you can access your super through transition to retirement strategies.

How can I access my super when I retire?

  • An income stream – an account-based pension that pays you money from your super account on a regular basis.
  • A lump sum – which is yours to choose where to invest, but you'll be taxed at your personal tax rate on any interest or capital gain you make from the amount you invest outside super.
  • An annuity – where you are paid an agreed amount for several years.

Each one is taxed differently, so you’ll need to consider which option is right for you.

Watch our video to find out more about ways to access your super.

Making choices about your super

Whatever choice you make, just remember super is designed to help you in retirement. So it's important to make sure you'll have enough to live the lifestyle you want.

Use the my super simulator or my retirement simulator to work out how much you'll need for a comfortable retirement.

Or, find out about the options for topping up your super via:

  • Before-tax contributions
  • After-tax contributions
  • Spouse contributions

You can also request a super search to find your lost super and consolidate all your super accounts into one.

Need help?

If you'd like help working out your super or retirement options, speak to your financial adviser. Or if you don't have one, you can find an adviser in your local area or call us on 131 267 from 8:30am to 7pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.

Important information

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© AMP Life Limited. This provides general information and hasn't taken your circumstances into account. It's important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what's right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.