Skip to main content

Early access to your super

5 minutes

Super is your retirement nest egg, so most people can generally only access their super once they reach a certain age and have retired or are planning to retire. However, there may be circumstances that will allow you to access your super earlier such as:

  • Severe financial hardship
  • Compassionate grounds
  • Temporary resident leaving Australia
  • First Home Super Saver scheme
  • Terminal illness
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Temporary incapacity

Severe financial hardship

If you’re suffering from severe financial hardship, you may be able to access some of your super early.

You may be eligible to withdraw some of your super if:

  • You have received eligible government income support payments continuously for 26 weeks; and
  • You are not able to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses.

If eligible, you can apply for a minimum of $1,000 and up to a maximum of $10,000 to be released once in any 12-month period. Severe financial hardship payments are taxed as a super lump sum.

The Services Australia website outlines the eligibility criteria for applying to access your super due to severe financial hardship.

Compassionate grounds

You may be able to withdraw some of your super on compassionate grounds. This is paid in very limited circumstances where you have no other means of paying for certain types of expenses.

The types of expenses for you and your dependants include:

  • Medical treatment and transport –To treat a life-threatening illness or injury, including acute or chronic pain, or mental illness.
  • Home or vehicle modifications – To accommodate severe disability (includes purchasing a modified vehicle).
  • Palliative care or funeral expenses – To pay for expenses associated with terminal illness, death, funeral or burial.
  • Purchasing disability aids – To cater for severe disability.
  • Preventing forced sale of home – To pay your mortgage or council rates (that are in arrears) on your principal place of residence.

The ATO website outlines the eligibility criteria for applying to access your super on compassionate grounds.

Temporary resident leaving Australia

If you’re a temporary resident who has worked and earned super, and you leave Australia permanently you may be eligible for a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP). To claim your super, you’ll need to complete the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) application and send the form to us. Withholding taxes will apply to the DASP.

If you do not make a claim within six months of departing Australia and your visa has expired or was cancelled, we are required to transfer your super to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as unclaimed super. Once your account has been transferred you will need to contact the ATO directly to claim it. For more information, please visit DASP (

First Home Super Savers (FHSS) scheme

If you’re a first home buyer, you may be eligible to withdraw voluntary super contributions you’ve made (plus earnings) to put towards a home deposit. The FHSS scheme is an Australian government initiative that provides you the opportunity to withdraw up to $15,000 in any one financial year up to a maximum of $50,000 per person ($100,000 combined for a couple), and then use this amount (plus earnings, less tax) to buy your first home.

For further information about the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme please refer to our FHSS flyer and the ATO website.

Terminal illness

If you become terminally ill and have been certified by two registered medical practitioners that you suffer from an illness or injury that is likely to result in your death within 24 months, you may be able to access your super early. At least one of these medical practitioners must specialise in a field related to your illness or injury. Funds released as lump-sum under this condition are tax-free.

If you have Death insurance cover through your super, you may be eligible to receive your benefit early.  For more information on our insurance claims process, please refer to our Insurance Claims Guide.

Permanent incapacity

If it has been determined that you are unlikely to engage in gainful employment for which you are reasonably qualified for by education, training, or experience due to ill-health (physical or mental) you may be able to access your super early (tax may apply).

If you have Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) insurance cover through your super, you may also be eligible to receive your insurance benefit as a lump sum payment. For more information on our insurance claims process, please refer to our Insurance Claims Guide.

Temporary incapacity

If you are temporarily unable to work or can only work at a reduced capacity due to a physical or mental medical condition, you may be able to receive Income Protection payments.

You must have Income Protection insurance cover through your super to be eligible for these payments.  For more information on our insurance claims process, please refer to our Insurance Claims Guide.

Read next

Super in your 50s (and beyond)

6 minute read

For many of us, turning 50 is a milestone. It’s also an age where you begin to think about your super a bit more.

What should I do with my super in retirement?

8 minute read

Retirement means different things to different people. So how you decide to use the retirement savings you’ve worked so hard for, comes down to your personal preference and circumstances.

Planning for retirement

4 minute read

You may have an idea of what you want to do once you retire from the workforce. But have you considered how much income you will need to fund your retirement? With a little planning today, you can be financially prepared for retirement.

Things you should know

*For further information refer to our Guide to making a claim in super or contact us on 1800 033 426 and we will talk you through the process.

Bendigo Superannuation Pty Ltd ABN 23 644 620 128 AFSL 534006 (Bendigo Super) is the trustee and issuer of Bendigo SmartStart Super and Bendigo SmartStart Pension (products). Bendigo Super is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL 237879 (Bank). Each of these companies receives remuneration on the issue of the products or services they provide, full details of which are contained in the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). Bendigo Super, the Bank and its related entities do not guarantee the repayment of capital invested, the payment of income or products’ investment performance. An investment in these products does not represent a deposit with, or liability of Bendigo Super, the Bank or its related entities. The Bank does not stand behind or guarantee the performance of Bendigo Super in its capacity as trustee and issuer of the products. Bendigo Super is not an authorised deposit-taking institution within the meaning of the Banking Act 1959.

Information on the website is subject to change without notice. Any advice in relation to superannuation is provided by Bendigo Super. The information contains general advice only and does not take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. Before making an investment decision in relation to these products you should consider your situation and read the relevant PDS accessible through this site.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of this nation and the Traditional Custodians of the land where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past and present as it is their knowledge and experience that holds the key to the success of future generations.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited, ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL / Australian Credit Licence 237879. Any advice provided on this website is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal needs, objectives and financial circumstances. You should consider whether it is appropriate for your situation. Please read the applicable Disclosure Documents before acquiring any product described on this website. Please also review our Financial Services Guide (FSG) before accessing information on this website. Information on this page can change without notice to you.

© Copyright 2024 Bendigo and Adelaide Bank