You may be eligible to access your super early if you receive government income support and it’s not enough to cover your expenses.

COVID-19 and early release of super

The ATO's COVID-19 early release applications program closed on 31 December 2020. The ATO has finalised all outstanding applications, notified outcomes to applicants and sent all determinations to super funds.

Aware Super has completed the processing of all early release payments.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding early release payments, please contact us on 1300 650 873, or email

Severe financial hardship is a situation where living and family expenses are in excess of the money you receive through government support, such as the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Accessing your super on the grounds of financial hardship can be done in one of two ways. How you go about it will depend on whether or not you’ve reached your preservation age.

If you’ve not yet reached your preservation age, you can receive a maximum of $10,000 as a lump sum in a 12 month period. Applicants over their preservation age have no restrictions.

Under superannuation law, we can only release your super to you on the grounds of severe financial hardship if you can meet specific eligibility criteria. It’s important to understand how it works before starting an application.

We’re here to support you through the application process, so if you have any questions or just want to have the rules explained, contact our member service centre. 

I want to speak to someone about my situation

Things to keep in mind

  1. Your government support payments

    The Department of Human Services look at your whole financial position when calculating your eligibility for benefits. Any payment you receive from super could affect what you receive as a pension. Be sure to do your research and understand how your benefits may be decreased by accessing your super. 

    Visit Centrelink
  2. You may be charged tax on withdrawal

    How much you get taxed will depend on your age and whether you’ve given us your tax file number. Your super is made up of tax-free and taxable amounts, and we will calculate how much of your before-tax super should be released for you.

    Read more
  3. There may be alternative pathways

    You might be able to apply for early access to your super on compassionate grounds. And if that’s not an option, speak to one of our financial advisers. 

    Read more

Conditions of eligibility

To be eligible for release of your superannuation benefit on grounds of financial hardship, you must meet the conditions of either Case 1 or Case 2.

You must have been a member of First State Super for greater than 6 months in accordance with the eligibility criteria. 

Case 1

Download this form if:

  • you have been receiving a Commonwealth income support payment for the past 26 weeks; and
  • you are unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses.


Download the form

Case 2

Download this form if:

  • you have reached your preservation age (between 55 and 60 years old); and
  • you are not currently gainfully employed (full-time or part-time); and
  • you have received a Commonwealth income support payment for 39 weeks since reaching your preservation age.


Download the form