Accessing your super

Your super is there to fund your retirement. You spend years making contributions to it and watching it grow. It's only natural to wonder when you will be able to access all or some of your super.

Generally, you can access your super when you reach your preservation age and have retired, or when you turn 65.

There are some specific circumstances where you may be able to access your super earlier, provided you meet certain conditions of release.

Understanding your preservation age

Your preservation age is the minimum age at which you can access your preserved super benefits if you intend to retire. It is different to your Age Pension age. Your preservation age depends on when you were born.

Date of birthPreservation Age
Before 1 July 196055
1 July 1960 to 30 June 196156
1 July 1960 to 30 June 196157
1 July 1962 to 30 June 196358
1 July 1963 to 30 June 196459
1 July 1964 or after60

If you've reached your preservation age and aren't ready to retire yet, you can still access part of your super through a  Transition to Retirement (TTR) pension.

Once you turn 65, you can access your super any time, even if you're still working.

How your  super is taxed  will vary according to your age, contributions and other factors.

Conditions of release

To get access to some or all of your super, you must satisfy one of the conditions of release. Once you've done so, you will generally be able to receive your super as a lump sum, income stream, or a combination of both.

The five main conditions of release are:

  • Reaching your preservation age and retiring
  • Reaching your preservation age and starting a retirement income stream
  • Ceasing employment when you're aged 60 or over, even if you don't intend to retire
  • Turning 65
  • Death.

Other conditions of release only apply under very limited circumstances and can allow you to access at least part of your super before you reach preservation age.

If you have retired, or plan to retire soon, find out more about accessing your super in retirement.

Early release of super

There are some instances where you may be able to access your super early.

Typically you can access your super early under these specific circumstances:

Severe financial hardship

To access your super if you are not retired, you must:

  • Be receiving a Centrelink income support payment, and have been receiving one continuously for the last 26 weeks
  • Satisfy your super fund that you are unable to meet reasonable and immediate family expenses.

Satisfying both components mean we can release one lump sum payment of no more than $10,000 and no less than $1,000, in any 12-month period. These limits apply to the gross payment before any tax is deducted. If your account is less than $1,000, your entire balance will be paid to you.

If you have reached your preservation age, your entire benefit can also be released if you meet the following conditions:

  • Received a Centrelink income support payment for a total period of 39 weeks after reaching your preservation age
  • Not gainfully employed on a full or part time basis on the date of your application to your super fund.

To apply, please complete the  Financial hardship benefit payment application.

Specified compassionate grounds

You may be able to claim part of your superannuation balance on compassionate grounds by making a  direct application to the ATO.

Please note the ATO assesses compassionate grounds applications, not Media Super.

Super and divorce

Going through a separation or divorce can be a stressful time for you and your family. Our factsheet will help you understand how super can be split when a relationship breaks down. It will also guide you on what you need to do.

Relationship breakdown and your super

How to claim

If you believe you are eligible to access your super early or want more information about your preservation age, tax obligations or options to receive payments, we're here to help.