Accessing super early: 14 popular Q and As

A popular article on the SuperGuide website, particularly for our overseas readers, is 12 legal ways to access your super.

I have received many questions from readers, some in serious financial situations or suffering illness who are seeking more information on how to access Australian super benefits early. Other readers seeking early access to super benefits have left Australia permanently, or have even left Australia temporarily.

The most surprising aspect to the range of questions that I have received from readers on this topic is the international reach of our super system and the mobility of the Australian and international workforces – readers from 146 countries visit the SuperGuide website.

Due to the number of questions that I receive on the issue of early access to super, it is not possible to publish every question but I have selected 8 categories that represent what I believe to be some of the most popular questions on accessing super early.

If you are seeking background information on how to access your super benefits then I suggest you start with the ’12 legal ways…’ article and then return to this page where I answer 14 questions on accessing super early covering the following topics (click on each link to access the questions and answers).

Note: The Q and As listed in this article are merely a guide to assist you with the general rules concerning early access of super benefits. You will need to confirm your personal circumstances with your super fund and where applicable, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), or the ATO, or Centrelink or your doctor.

Tip: APRA has produced a very handy summary document explaining the rules relating to early release. You can access the document ‘Early Release of superannuationhere.

© Copyright Trish Power 2009-2014

Copyright for this article belongs to Trish Power, and cannot be reproduced without express and specific consent.

IMPORTANT: SuperGuide does not provide financial advice. SuperGuide does not answer all questions posted in the comments section. SuperGuide may use your question or comment, or use questions from several readers, as the basis for an article topic that we publish on the SuperGuide website. We will not disclose names or personal information in these articles. Comments provided by readers that may include information relating to tax, superannuation or other rules cannot be relied upon as advice. SuperGuide does not verify the information provided within comments from readers. Readers need to seek independent advice about their personal circumstances.

Comments

  1. Louise Nonweiler says:

    I lived in Australia on a temporary visa and then applied for Permanent residency which I got. I have now relocated back to the UK and have cancelled my permanent visa. I have now been told that I can only claim my super back for my temporary residency. Is this correct and is there any way I can claim on hardship grounds etc.

    Your website is very informative

  2. Hi,
    I would be very regretful if you could answer my following question:
    My current situation:
    > I am 30+ years old
    > I have good amount ($60k+)of personal debt (majority are from Credit card and interest rates are very high) which is almost equivalent of my current supper amount
    > For last 5+ year I am re-paying all repayment on time but due to high interest rate and living expenses going higher day by day, my debt is actually going up day by day slowly.
    > I have reduce all my expenses to a minimal amount and there is not a single $ I can reduce from my daily budget.
    > If my debt keep going like current rate, within next 2-3 years I will have no other options rather going for bankruptcy and quit my job
    > 2/3 of my Supper fund is in SMSF
    > My current supper contribution from Employer is 17%
    > I have invested all my super amount to cash investment (4% return)
    I have calculated:-
    > if I been given the opportunity to borrow my Super fund money only for 3 years than I will be able to reduce my debt 80-90% and It will take me Year to repay my loan.

    Under my circumstances stated above, will be able to apply for early release of my super fund? Or may I borrow my Super fund for 3 years ?

    Thanks
    H

  3. Hi there, I really like your website, it is very helpful. I have a question that I cannot find the answer for, maybe you can help.

    If I am 50, and I have a very strong super fund (5 to 10 million AUD), can I go to the bank and borrow money using to support early retirement, using the security of the super cash flows?? Are there laws to prevent the bank from using my super fund as a legitimate security? This is an important question as it may provide another way to access your super early.

    Many thanks in advance for your advice.

    Rgds
    NIck

    • Hi Nick
      Many thanks for your email and for your very nice feedback.
      We are an information site rather than advisory site but I can say that superannuation accounts cannot be used as security for bank loans or for other purposes. There is one or two exceptions related to limited recourse borrowing (where the specific superannuation asset subject to the borrowing arrangement is part of the security arrangement).
      I will provide a fuller response in our March 2011 newsletter.
      Regards
      Trish

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