Accessing super in retirement

Superannuation is designed as a long-term investment for your retirement, so there are strict rules about when you can access your super.

Preservation of benefits

All contributions and any investment earnings made to your account since 1 July 1999 are preserved. That is, they must stay invested in super until you reach your preservation age and retire or satisfy another condition of release.

If you accumulated super before 1 July 1999, some of your contributions and earnings may not need to be preserved. These benefits may include:

  • Restricted non-preserved benefits that can generally be paid to you on termination of employment, and
  • Unrestricted non-preserved benefits that may be paid to you at any time.

Check your statement or ask your superannuation provider if you think you may have non-preserved benefits.

Conditions of Release

You can access the preserved amount of your super if you satisfy one of the conditions of release.

Release of super at retirement age:

  • Reaching preservation age and choosing to access some or all of your super balance as a transition to retirement pension while remaining employed on a full- or part-time basis
  • Permanent retirement from the workforce on or after your preservation age
  • Termination of employment after turning age 60 (without necessarily retiring permanently)
  • Reaching age 65 (whether you are retired or not)

Other conditions under which super may be released:

  • Death (benefits are paid to your dependants or personal legal representative)
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Diagnosis of a terminal medical condition
  • Severe financial hardship
  • Eligibility for approval on compassionate grounds
  • Termination of employment with an employer-sponsor where your preserved amount is less than $200
  • Permanent departure from Australia if you are an eligible temporary resident
  • Satisfying any other condition of release as specified in superannuation law.