The Superannuation Guarantee is a compulsory system of superannuation support for Australian employees, paid for by employers; it is designed to make sure that citizens have sufficient funds with which to support themselves in their retirement years.
Superannuation benefits are restricted until you reach your preservation age; this is the age at which you can access your superannuation if you are retired. Alternatively,you may have started a transition to retirement income stream. Your preservation age is determined by when you were born, and the age brackets are listed below:
Date of birth Preservation age
Prior to 01/07/1960 55
From 01/07/1964 60
When can I withdraw my superannuation fund?
Withdrawal can only take place under circumstances, and you need to have:
- retired and reached your preservation age
- reached the age of 65
- qualified under the “transition to retirement” rules
- this is where you have reached your preservation age, and wish to reduce your working hours without reducing your income, which can be topped up with an income stream from your superannuation fund
- left Australia permanently, after being a temporary resident
- changed employers after the age of 60
- have less than $200 in your superannuation fund and changed your employer
- you have inherited superannuation
- suffer from a total and permanent disability
- have a terminal illness
- proven severe financial hardship
- if you have been in continuous receipt of income support payments for 26 weeks, and you are not able to meet reasonable and immediate living expenses, you may be able to withdraw some of your superannuation.
- withdrawal under these circumstances would be made as a lump sum, with a minimum limit of $1,000 and maximum of $10,000
- qualified on compassionate grounds; this withdrawal is limited to what is reasonably needed, and withdrawals are typically needed to:
- pay for medical treatment for you or a dependent
- make payments towards your home in order to prevent foreclosure
- modify your home to accommodate disability needs of you or a dependent
- pay expenses associated with a death, funeral or burial
How to make a withdrawal
In order to withdraw from your superannuation fund, an application must be made to the Department of Human Services; this can be done online at: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/early-release-of-superannuation
If you are leaving Australia, an application for withdrawal will need to be made to the Australian Taxation Office; this can be done online at:
If you wish to establish a transition to retirement income stream, you will need to take independent financial advice to ensure that the income stream set up is appropriate for your needs, both now and later in life.
Withdrawal of superannuation can have tax implications; it is recommended that independent financial advice is taken so that any tax implications are fully understood.