Early access to superannuation via the Severe Financial Hardship Superannuation provisions is a complex area of Superannuation law. It is imperative that you consult a professional superannuation adviser and the trustee of your superannuation fund prior to withdrawing superannuation benefits.

Severe Financial Hardship for Superannuation relates to the ability to access your superannuation savings via the Severe Financial Hardship provisions. This provides early release of superannuation on financial hardship grounds.

In order to access your superannuation, you are required to meet a superannuation Condition of Release.

There are a number of Conditions of Release, with the most common obviously being related to retirement.

However, there are also some lesser known and lesser utilised Conditions of Release, such as Severe Financial Hardship.

To apply for early release of superannuation through Centrelink on severe financial hardship grounds, you need to complete the severe financial hardship form.

Severe Financial Hardship Superannuation Requirements


Early Release of Superannuation on Financial Hardship Grounds

The requirements of accessing superannuation under the Financial Hardship provisions 6.01(5)(a) includes:

  • Having been in receipt of Commonwealth Income Support Payments continuously for the past 26 weeks;
  • Were still in receipt of those payments at the date of the written evidence provided in support of the application; and
  • Unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses

If the above conditions are met, a person  may take a single lump sum of no less than $1,000 (unless their balance is lower) and no more than $10,000 in a 12 month period

Early Release of Superannuation on Severe Financial Hardship Grounds

The requirements of accessing superannuation under the Severe Financial Hardship provisions 6.01 (5)(b) includes:

  • Reaching Preservation Age, plus 39 weeks;
  • Have been receiving Commonwealth Income Support payments for a cumulative period of 39 weeks after reaching Preservation Age; and
  • Were not gainfully employed on a full-time or part-time basis on the date of the application for cashing benefits

If the above conditions are met, there is no limit on the amount that can be accessed.

The Superannuation Industry (Superannuation) Regulations 1994 – Schedule 1 includes a list of the Conditions of Release of Superannuation Benefits.

You should be aware of the taxation consequences of withdrawing money from superannuation. This is something that should be discussed with your tax adviser prior to a withdrawal being made.

Prior to contributing to superannuation you should consider how long before you are able to access these funds, as it may influence your decision.

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Chris Strano

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