Accessing your super

Super benefits are there to fund your retirement. Learn when you can access your super and the situations that permit an early release.

The day will come when you'll reap the rewards of your super savings. Usually, it will be when you retire. But there are some circumstances in which you could get some of your super early.

Need some super now?

Can you access your super?

You have to meet the conditions set by the government to access your super. Read on below to understand the conditions.

If you know that you meet the conditions, please call Member Services on 1300 300 820 to get a Vision Super benefit payment instruction form. Otherwise, read on for details on what you may be able to access, when, and how.

When and how can you access your super?

There are some circumstances under which you could access some or all of your super before your official retirement age. There are government regulations and rules for all this, though. We know it can get confusing, so we’ve laid it out clearly for you here.

In short, there are two types of benefits: preserved benefits and non-preserved benefits. The type of benefit will determine when and how you can access your super.

Preserved benefits

What are preserved benefits?

Generally, contributions to superannuation cannot be taken out in cash until you meet a condition of release. This is known as preservation. Certain benefits must be preserved (that is, kept) in a super fund like Vision Super under government regulations.

A preserved benefit always belongs to you, but you can’t receive it in cash unless you satisfy some conditions. These are called ‘conditions of release’. For most people, they’ll satisfy condition of release when they reach ‘preservation age’. But there are other conditions of release. Since superannuation benefits are designed to be preserved for your retirement, you won’t be able to access your super until you meet one of these conditions.

Conditions of release explained

There are a number of ways that you can legally access your superannuation under Australian law – these are called conditions of release:

  • You have reached age 65*
  • You have reached age 60, stopped working for an employer or you never intend to work again*
  • You have retired permanently  and have reached your preservation age* (see the table below)
  • You die or become totally and permanently incapacitated (as defined in the legislation)
  • You have a preserved benefit of less than $200* and you cease employment or are an eligible temporary resident departing permanently from Australia
  • You have a terminal medical condition (as defined in the legislation)
  • You can demonstrate financial hardship or apply to the ATO for a compassionate grounds release
  • You can apply to the ATO for a compassionate grounds release. Go here to find out how to apply to the ATO > *
  • You’re accessing the First Home Super Saver scheme.

*These conditions of release are not available to you if you are a temporary resident unless you hold or held a sub-class visa 405 or 410.

Non-preserved benefits

Like the name suggests, non-preserved benefits are any benefits that don’t need to be ‘preserved’ through the rules above.

There are two kinds:

1

Unrestricted non-preserved benefits

Unrestricted non-preserved benefits are the most common type of non-preserved benefits. Basically, when you have already met a condition of release (like reaching retirement age, or one of the other conditions listed above), but you didn’t withdraw that money from your super. If you have any unrestricted non-preserved money, you can take it out of your super at any time.

Some eligible termination benefits received before 1 July 2004 are also unrestricted non-preserved benefits.

2

Restricted non-preserved benefits

Restricted non-preserved benefits may be paid to you in cash when you leave a job, and your employer had contributed to your superannuation (including any restricted non-preserved transferred amounts).

Restricted non-preserved benefits include any employment-related contributions you made before 1 July 1999, excluding employer contributions.

If you have restricted non-preserved benefits, you can’t access them until the employment arrangement they relate to has been terminated.

What is preservation age?

Under transition to retirement rules, you may be able to access your preserved benefits via a pension once you have reached your preservation age, even if you are still working.

Your preservation age is between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born. Once you’ve reached your preservation age and you retire from the workforce, you can access your super.

Find your preservation age in the table below.

Information on preservation age based on date of birth information can be accessed at ato.gov.au.

Date of birth
Preservation age
Before July 1960
55 Years
Between 1 July 1960 and 30 June 1961
56 years
Between 1 July 1961 and 30 June 1962
57 years
Between 1 July 1962 and 30 June 1963
58 years
Between 1 July 1963 and 30 June 1964
59 years
From 1 July 1964
60 years

Is withdrawing from your super right for you right now?

Before you take money out of your super, think carefully about whether it’s right for you now.

If you access your super before you turn 60, you may have to pay tax on any payments you receive, regardless of the type of payment you get (that is, a lump sum or a pension). The amount of tax you’ll have to pay depends on whether your payment contains a taxable component, a tax-free component, or a combination of both.

This can get complicated, so we've unpacked it in our guide to how super is taxed.

Need advice?

Make an appointment with a Vision Super Financial Planner who will provide information and advice about your super or pension. Bookings can also be made by calling 1300 300 820. 

Frequently asked questions

It depends how your details have been changed. The most common request is changing a surname due to marriage, which you can do with a certified copy of your marriage certificate, and a Vision Super “Change of Personal Details form” found here: view form

If you have changed your name another way, we recommend you contact us first on 1300 300 820 so we can outline what documents we need to change your details without issue.

If you want to change your address, you can do this by logging onto the secure member portal online, or calling our Member Services team on 1300 300 820.

You can check your balance 24/7 via Vision Online, our secure member secure site, or via the Vision Super app for mobile devices. You can also contact our Member Services on 1300 300 820 or by emailing us on [email protected]

Here’s how it works. You may be able to receive a tax-free contribution from the Government when you make a non-concessional (after-tax) contribution to your super account.  The maximum entitlement that can be received is $500 where your total income is $39,837 or less in the 2020/21 year. This reduces on a sliding scale and cuts out if your total income is above $54,837 in the 2020/21 year.

This is, of course, provided you satisfy work, income and age tests.

Please note that the income threshold test for the co-contribution is your total income, which is calculated as follows:

Total income (assessable income + reportable fringe benefits + reportable employer super contributions – allowable business deductions).

In very basic terms, ‘salary sacrificing’, or ‘salary packaging’ means using some of your before-tax salary to pay for something. In superannuation terms, it is usually an arrangement between you and your employer to contribute some of your before-tax salary into your superannuation account.

In the 2020/2021 financial year, the maximum that can be contributed as before-tax payments is $25,000, this includes your employer SG payments of 9.5%.

If you’re contributing by BPAY, it can take Vision Super up to two business days to receive your contribution, then up to three business days to process, although most are done the same day they are received. This will depend upon your financial institution’s processing times.

If you’re contributing by cheque, you will need to allow enough time for your chosen postage method to reach us. Once it has arrived, it can take up to five working days to process.

We can also process contributions by EFT, however, this may take up to three business days.

Best Doctors can help you if you are dealing with an illness, or a chronic or serious condition.

Through your insurance, you and your family get access to Best Doctors which connects you with a network of 50,000 leading medical specialists from around the world. It offers a second opinion when you need it most, to make sure you received the right diagnosis and are on the best treatment plan. You can use Best Doctors at anytime, anywhere, as often as you need for no extra cost, and it’s completely confidential.

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