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Make your personal contributions by 25 June 2024 to make sure they’re counted towards the 2023/24 financial year.

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Withdraw your super early on compassionate grounds

Sometimes people struggle to afford medical treatments, home alterations or funeral expenses. If you need financial help, you might be able to access your super early on compassionate grounds.

Key points

  • Accessing your super early on compassionate grounds can help you pay for:
    • Home loan repayments, to prevent you losing your home,
    • For you or someone who is financially dependent on you to cover
      • medical treatments
      • medical transport 
      • palliative care
    • Death, funeral and burial expenses for a dependant.
  • You must have no other way to pay for these expenses.

How to apply for early access to your super

For early access of your super for compassionate reasons, you need to apply to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). If the ATO approves your application, you can only receive enough money to pay for your expenses. We then pay this as a lump sum from your super. The tax you pay will depend on several factors and will be deducted from your account. 

You can apply for early access to cover the following expenses for you or a dependant

  • Medical treatments for a life-threatening illness, pain relief, or a mental illness.
  • Making changes to your home or car or paying for aids to help with a severe disability.
  • Palliative care for a terminal illness. Expenses can include hospice costs, carers, and service providers. 
  • Funeral expenses for your dependant. This can include service fees, flowers, a coffin and burial costs. 
  • Preventing the loss of your home. If you have defaulted on your mortgage or have not paid council rates for more than two years. 

To learn more visit ATO

Conditions for early super release

If you need help paying for these expenses, you need to meet these conditions: 

  • You need to provide proof of the expenses such as unpaid invoices or quotes. 
  • You haven’t yet paid for these expenses with a loan, credit card or money borrowed from others.  
  • You can’t afford to pay for these expenses any other way. This means using your savings, getting a loan or selling any investments.  
  • You are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. 

How much tax you will pay

If you are under 60  years, any lump sum payments are generally taxed between 17% and 22%. If you have reached your preservation age (between 55 and 60), you may not need to pay tax, depending on how much you have withdrawn previously. If you are older than 60, you will not be taxed. 

Learn more about how your super is taxed

You may be able to withdraw a lump sum from your super without paying tax. To do so, you will need to meet a condition of release related to your age and working status.

Learn more about when you can withdraw your super.

How to apply for early release of your super  

Follow these steps. Make sure you provide all the information to get your money as soon as possible.

Before you start

1. Check you meet the ATO conditions listed above to access your super early

2. Get your documents together for the ATO

Go to the Australian Tax Office website to find out what you need to provide as proof to support your claim. 

If you meet the ATO’s conditions and have your documents ready, follow these steps:

3. Complete and submit your form to the ATO

You can apply online through myGov. Log in to your account, go to Your services and select Australian Tax Office. Click the Super dropdown menu, select Manage, then Compassionate release. If you can’t apply online, you can call the ATO on 13 10 20 to request a paper application. 

ATO approval times

The ATO can take up to 14 days to process your online application, or 28 days for a paper application. They may contact you during this time for more information. If the ATO approves your application, they will contact you by phone. You will also receive an email letting you know of a letter in your myGov Inbox. The ATO will also tell us your application is approved.

4. Apply to Aware Super for the release of your money

Once you have approval from the ATO, you need to request the release of your money. Fill out the Aware Super early release application form and return it to us.. Include:

  • proof of identity.

Complete all fields and sign to avoid delaying your payment. Contact us if you need help completing this form. 

5. Prove your identity

Before we can release your money, we need to verify your identity. 

Providing proof of ID electronically 

Some of our forms allow you to provide your proof of identity electronically. You’ll need to use two government-issued identification documents. 

These can include your 

  • Australian Passport 
  • Driver's License  
  • Medicare Card.

The information we need to verify your documents

  • Your full name, and either  
  • your date of birth or  
  • your residential address.

The documents you provide must match the details we have for you in our records. If the details don’t match, or the documents you provide are out-of-date, we won’t be able to use the documents to verify your identity. You will need to provide a certified copy of your current documents.

See a full list of government identity documents and authorised persons

When to expect payment

Once we receive your form and documents, we will verify your approval letter with the ATO. We will contact you if we need any more information. Once we have all your correct information, allow 3-5 business days for us to process your application and transfer your money. This may vary depending on your bank’s processing times. 

Where to next?

Attend an event

Join our experts as they break down super and finances into easy-to-understand topics through our live webinar education series.

Simple advice at no cost

Take advantage of simple financial advice over the phone, for answers to questions about your Aware Super account.  

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