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accessing your superannuation early



The money saved in your superannuation fund is usually only available to you when you retire. However, in special circumstances, some superannuation funds may allow you access to all or part of your super before you retire. While it can be a long process to access the money saved in your super, it can make a big difference. Situations when you can apply to access your super include:

  • Compassionate grounds
  • Severe financial hardship
  • If your cancer is not curable

We’ve outlined how each of these options works below, but if you plan to apply to access your super early, check with your super fund as a first step. Each fund is different, and not all of these options will be available through every super fund.

accessing your super on compassionate grounds

If you’re a parent of a child with cancer or a young person with a diagnosis, you may be able to access all or part of your super on compassionate grounds, to:

  • Stop your house being sold by the lender holding the home’s mortgage
  • Pay medical, disability or funeral expenses

To access your super on compassionate grounds, you’ll need to apply through the Department of Human Services (DHS) website. DHS commits to assessing applications within 10 days of receiving them and any supporting documentation. DHS will tell you if your application is successful in writing and you'll then need to apply to your super fund with their approval. The money released is not taxed.

accessing your super during severe financial hardship

To access your super during times of severe financial hardship, you’ll need to apply directly to your super fund.  Whether you’re a young person with a diagnosis or a parent, you’ll need to meet one of the following criteria to qualify:

  • You have received certain Commonwealth income support payments for a continuous period of 26 weeks including Newstart Allowance, Disability Support Pension, parenting allowance, carers payment and widow allowance. (Austudy and Youth Allowance paid to students in full time study not eligible).
  • You’re unable to meet your “reasonable and immediate” living expenses.

You’ll need to support your application with a letter from Centrelink (or another Commonwealth agency) that you're receiving the required income support payments. This letter will need to have been written in the past 21 days.


If your application is approved, you can access up to $10,000 in each 12 month period, with a minimum withdrawal of $1,000. The money released may be taxed.


Our Redkite support team can help you apply to access your super on compassionate grounds or during severe financial hardship. Contact us on 1800 REDKITE (1800 733 548) or

accessing your super during palliative care

If you’re a young person with cancer that cannot be cured and you’re in palliative care, our Redkite support team is here for you and your family. One of the ways we can help is with conversations with your super fund about whether you can access the money saved there. 


To access your super during palliative care, you’ll need to apply to your fund directly. Your application must include certification from two registered medical practitioners about your stage of treatment, at least one of whom is a specialist in the relevant area. The money released will not be taxed.

To find out more, contact us on 1800 REDKITE (1800 733 548) or