Q: I am female and I will be 66 in a few weeks. My personal savings of $60,000 were used to pay for my husband’s funeral expenses, and to repay the balance of my mortgage. I need urgent dental, optical treatment and due to the lack of savings, I have not been able to get this medical treatment for three years. I currently have a super fund, and I’m afraid that by the time I retire in five years that my health will be too poor to enjoy the super money. Would I be able to withdraw $10,000 from my current super (this is what my expenses will be) now.
I am very sorry to read about your husband and your current circumstances. Anyone aged 65 or over can access super benefits without retiring or satisfying any other special condition of release. Turning 65 is a condition of release. Unless you’re in a public sector fund, such benefits will be tax-free. I explain the conditions of release in the SuperGuide article Accessing super early: 14 legal ways to withdraw your super benefits, and the tax treatment of super benefits in the SuperGuide article Tax-free super for over-60s, except for some.
For a fund member to access super benefits on the basis of turning 65, a super fund simply needs evidence that you have reached age 65 or over, and you must complete a couple of forms. You need to contact your super fund for the appropriate forms and to check the process involved for accessing your super money. Check with your fund about any costs involved in withdrawing the amounts.
Note: I’m not aware of your late husband’s superannuation entitlements but if he was a fund member of an Australian superannuation fund, he may have had life insurance cover. You will need to contact your late husband’s super fund for more information, and for background information, see SuperGuide article Life insurance and super: 10 facts you should know.
For more information on accessing super benefits…
For more information on accessing super benefits, see the following SuperGuide articles:
- Turning 65 and super: A Super Guide
- Accessing super early: 14 legal ways to withdraw your super benefits
- Accessing super: What is my preservation age?
- I’m 60. Why can’t I access my super benefits?
- Does changing to part-time at 60 years, count as ‘retiring’?
- Retirement Age Reckoner: Discover your preservation age and Age Pension age
- TRIPs: 10 important facts about transition-to-retirement pensions