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Compassionate grounds

Commonwealth Government legislation permits early access to your superannuation only in very limited circumstances.

Generally, super can only be claimed when you retire from the workforce after reaching your preservation age (from 55 to 60, depending on your date of birth), or satisfy another preservation cashing condition.

Commonwealth Government legislation permits earlier access to your super only in very limited circumstances. These circumstances include severe financial hardship, or release due to compassionate grounds.

Who decides what the compassionate grounds are?

The Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS) administers compassionate claims on behalf of the Commonwealth Government. So before QSuper can pay your claim, you need to apply for your superannuation to be released through DHS, who will assess whether your situation qualifies.

For DHS to allow the early release of your funds you need to be able to show you are financially unable to meet the expenses associated with one or more of the following compassionate grounds:

  • to pay for medical treatment or medical transport for you or a dependant, where the condition is life-threatening, or causes chronic pain or chronic mental illness
  • to modify your principal place of residence or vehicle to accommodate the special needs of you, or a dependant, arising from a severe disability
  • to pay for expenses with you or a dependant's palliative care, in the case of impending death
  • to pay for expenses associated with a dependant's death, funeral, or burial
  • to enable you to make a payment on a loan to prevent the potential loss of your principal place of residence
  • to meet expenses in other cases where the release is consistent with a ground mentioned above.

Claiming your benefit on compassionate grounds is a two-step process:

  1. You need to apply to DHS to get permission from the Commonwealth Government to access your superannuation on compassionate grounds.
  2. If they give permission, you need to attach the letter DHS gives you, to the claim form in the Compassionate grounds guide, to allow QSuper to make a payment.

Both the claim form and the letter then need to be posted or delivered to QSuper. Without this information your claim cannot be paid. A faxed or photocopied form and letter cannot be accepted.

How long will it take for QSuper to pay my claim?

Once you send your QSuper application with DHS's letter attached, you'll normally receive funds within two weeks. However, applications submitted without all requested information might take longer to process, as we'll first need to obtain that information from you. Your claim may also take longer to process if we need to check details of your claim with you or you need to transfer between accounts.

If DHS approves early release of your superannuation, only monies held in a QSuper Accumulation account can be released.

Members with a Defined Benefit account or a deferred retirement benefit only, will need to consider transferring their benefit to an Accumulation account if their claim is approved.

For more information, download the Compassionate Grounds Guide, or call us and we'll send you one.

Make a compassionate grounds claim

1. Download and read our
Compassionate Grounds Guide

2. Apply to the Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS) using the relevant Early release of superannuation benefits application.

3. If you get approval from DHS, complete an Application for early access on compassionate grounds form - found inside guide

4. Send your completed form and letter from DHS confirming your approval to QSuper