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Introduction - Accessing Superannuation Benefits

Accessing Superannuation Benefits

Superannuation benefits fall into three categories:

Preserved Benefits This category now includes the vast majority of superannuation balances (all contributions after July, 1999)
Restricted non-preserved Benefits Although not preserved, these funds cannot be accessed until an individual meets a condition of release, such as terminating their employment in an employer superannuation scheme.
Unrestricted non-preserved Benefits These benefits do not require the fulfillment of a condition of release, and can be accessed upon the request of the individual.

Conditions of Release - Age Related

The focus of superannuation is providing funds for your retirement so it is no surprise that - except in certain rather narrow circumstances - you can generally only access your superannuation after you reach at a certain minimum age ("preservation age") and meet certain requirements ("conditions of release"). In short, if you meet one of the following requirements:

  • when you turn 65 (even if you haven’t retired), or
  • when you reach preservation age and retire, or
  • when you are aged 60 - 64 and cease an employment arrangement, or
  • when you reach preservation age and access a Transition to Retirement (TRIP) pension, while continuing to work.

Current Preservation Ages are: 

Date of Birth
Preservation Age
Before 1 July 1960
1 July 1960 - 30 June 1961
1 July 1961 - 30 June 1962
1 July 1962 - 30 June 1963
1 July 1963 - 30 June 1964
1 July 1964 and after

Conditions of Release - Not Age Related

However, there are also situations when access to superannuation - on a full or limited basis - is available without regard to age restrictions. Those situations include:

  • Death
  • Terminal Illness
  • Compassionate Grounds
  • Severe Financial Hardship
  • Permanent Disability or Incapacity
  • Temporary Incapacity
  • Non Preserved Benefits (pre 1999)
  • Preserved Benefits of less than $200
  • Choosing a Lifetime Pension/Annuity (limited to specific funds)
  • Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) - limited to certain temporary resident visas

We consider these grounds in more detail elsewhere on the page: Conditions of Release.

Minimum Super Drawdown Rates - Age Related

Superannuation access is subject to a minimum drawdown rate, which is age dependent - effectively increasing in tranches as individual's age. From July 1, 2023 minimum annual super drawdown rates "returned to normal" after being halved as one part of the response to the Covid 19 pandemic. Note that these are minimum rates of withdrawal - members may withdraw more than these amounts. Whether that is warranted and rational will depend on individual circumstances and, ideally, will be discussed with a advisor beforehand.

Minimum Drawdown
Under 65
65 - 74
75 - 79
80 - 84
85 - 89
90 - 94
95 or over

If you would like to arrange professional advice in relation to the above matters, please complete the Inquiry form below providing details and you will be contacted accordingly. You will receive a fee quotation in advance of any advice or services being provided.