#1 fund for weathering market ups and downs3
SuperRatings' Pension of the Year three years in a row4
From 1 July 2018, applying for early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds is managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Responsibility for the administration of the early release of superannuation benefits on compassionate grounds on behalf of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has been transferred from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). According to the Turnbull government, this will help successful applicants receive funds sooner in their time of need.1
"These changes will expedite the assessment of early release applications, improve the integrity of the process and allow the funds to be released more quickly to successful applicants," Minister Kelly O'Dwyer said.
In relation to withdrawing some of your superannuation on compassionate grounds, these grounds may include2:
There are eligibility conditions attached to each of these grounds. The ATO website contains further details. You can also download QSuper’s Compassionate Grounds guide (pdf).
Whilst a successful compassionate grounds claim may enable you to access some superannuation before you reach your preservation age, the amount of super you can withdraw will be limited to what you reasonably need.
It’s also important to note that money can only be released for an expense that you have not yet paid.
A key improvement under the new process is the ATO providing electronic copies of approval letters to superannuation funds at the same time as to the applicant. This will mitigate fraud risk and negate the need for superannuation funds to independently verify the letter with the Regulator. Individuals will also upload accompanying documentation simultaneously with their application, rather than the current 'two-step process'.
Applying for early release of superannuation benefits is free.
Apply using the ATO’s online form. The ATO advise that assessing your eligibility may take up to 14 days.
If your application is approved, download and complete the QSuper Application for Early Access on Compassionate Grounds form (pdf). You will also need to provide a copy of the approval letter the ATO will give you.
The ATO advises that you must pay the expenses with the amount released from the fund and keep your receipts as evidence.
The government is currently conducting a review of the rules governing the early release of superannuation benefits on compassionate grounds and in cases of severe financial hardship. Consultation has finished in relation to this review and Treasury will report to the government based on the review findings later this year. QSuper will keep you updated with any changes.
Check your current QSuper account balance and transactions in Member Online.
1 The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP. Media release 12 June 2018.
2 ATO website: Access on Compassionate Grounds. Accessed 25 June 2018.
How to choose a super fund: here’s a checklist to help you choose a super fund that’s right for you.
QSuper’s Wealth iQ highlights the financial fitness of Australians
Use life’s major milestones as a chance to take action to help you grow your super.
Ways I'm saving for retirement