You can access your super in Australia once you have reached your preservation age and met a condition of release.
Your preservation age in Australia depends on your date of birth, as outlined below.
If your date of birth is…
- before 1 July 1960, your preservation age is 55
- between 1 July 1960 and 30 June 1961, your preservation age is 56
- between 1 July 1961 and 30 June 1962, your preservation age is 57
- between 1 July 1962 and 30 June 1963, your preservation age is 58
- between 1 July 1963 and 30 June 1964, your preservation age is 59
- on or after 1 July 1964, your preservation age is 60
The following table provides examples of different preservation age for different birth dates.
|Date of birth||Preservation age||Date reaches preservation age|
|1 July 1959||55||1 July 2014|
|1 January 1960||55||1 January 2015|
|1 July 1960||56||1 July 2016|
|1 January 1961||56||1 January 2017|
|1 July 1961||57||1 July 2018|
|1 January 1962||57||1 January 2019|
|1 July 1962||58||1 July 2020|
|1 January 1963||58||1 January 2021|
|1 July 1963||59||1 July 2022|
|1 January 1964||59||1 January 2023|
|1 July 1964||60||1 July 2024|
What does preservation age mean?
The term ‘preservation age’ is derived from the term ‘preserved benefits’. In the superannuation context, your super benefits (i.e. super fund contributions made by you or your employer, plus any associated earnings) must be preserved until you have reached your preservation age and you’ve met a condition of release.
It’s important to understand that your preservation age is different from the Age Pension eligibility age. The Age Pension eligibility age in Australia also depends on your date of birth. It is currently 65 years and six months, but this age is progressively increasing and will be 67 by 1 July 2023. The preservation age for all Australians is therefore much lower than the Age Pension eligibility age.
It’s also important to understand that your preservation age is also not necessarily your retirement age, though it can be if you choose to retire when you reach it. However, you can also choose to continue working beyond your preservation age if you’re able to. If you do, you (and your employer) can continue to make contributions to your super fund. Your funds will remain as preserved benefits until you have met a condition of release.
What you can do when you reach preservation age?
You can access your super benefits in Australia once you have reached your preservation age and met one of the following conditions of release:
- Retiring from the workforce.
- Beginning a transition-to-retirement income stream/pension. This is a way you can access your super while you’re moving towards retirement.
Other conditions of release after preservation age include the following:
- Ceasing an employment arrangement after you reach 60 (even if you get a job with another employer).
- Turning 65 (even if you continue working).
How can you access your super before preservation age?
You can access part of your super prior to reaching your preservation age in special circumstances, such as:
- If you become permanently or temporarily incapacitated.
- If you’re suffering severe financial hardship or from a terminal medical condition.
- On compassionate grounds.
Reaching your preservation age provides you with options to potentially access your super. Accessing your super is an important financial decision. You should seek independent, professional financial advice to determine when you should access your super and the best way to do it, based on your individual circumstances.
The information contained in this article is general in nature.