Applying for early superannuation release

We administer the very limited circumstances where superannuation benefits may be released early on compassionate grounds.

Before you start

Check if you’re eligible for early release of superannuation benefits under compassionate grounds before you start your claim.

You must contact your superannuation fund to confirm if the trustee of the fund will permit early release of your superannuation. You should also understand the role of your fund in the early release of superannuation.

We can’t approve the release of superannuation benefits from an Exempt Public Sector Superannuation Scheme. You should contact your fund for more information.

Eligible for more than one compassionate ground

If you’re eligible for more than one compassionate ground, a separate application and supporting documents needs to be completed for each ground.

Joint applications

Joint applications for early release of superannuation are made when you and another person submit separate application forms for the same expense.

If you’re applying for mortgage assistance, both you and the other person must be listed on the written statement from the lender as legally responsible for the mortgage.

You’ll need to decide a primary applicant. They must complete and submit their application first. They’ll receive a verification code after they’ve submitted their application.

The secondary applicant must use the primary applicant's verification code and Customer Reference Number so we can assess the two applications together.

Supporting documents

You’ll need to provide confirmation of identity documents and any other documents requested in the online application. These will vary depending on the compassionate grounds you’re applying for.

All quotes and invoices must be:

  • on a letterhead
  • dated
  • no more than 6 months old for quotes, and
  • no more than 30 days old for unpaid invoices

Modifications to your home or vehicle grounds

Additional supporting documents you need to provide include:

  • an Early Release of Superannuation on Specified Compassionate Grounds Report by Registered Medical Practitioner form completed by a registered medical practitioner
  • a report from a registered medical practitioner who has treated you or your dependant for severe disability – it should be less than 6 months old, clearly show the medical practitioner’s qualifications, be signed and dated and state:
    • the condition is a severe disability
    • that modifications are needed to your home or vehicle to accommodate severe disability
    • the specific modifications needed, and
    • why the specific modifications are needed

Purchase of disability aids

If you’re purchasing disability aids you need to provide:

  • a report from a registered medical practitioner who has treated you or your dependant for severe disability – it should be less than 6 months old, clearly show the medical practitioner’s qualifications, be signed and dated and state:
    • the condition is severe disability
    • specific aids needed to accommodate severe disability, and
    • how the aids will accommodate severe disability
  • quotes or unpaid invoices to determine the amount of superannuation required to pay for necessary medical treatment or medical transport

Palliative care expenses grounds

Additional supporting documents you need to provide include:

  • an Early Release of Superannuation on Specified Compassionate Grounds Report by Registered Medical Practitioner form completed by a registered medical practitioner
  • a report from a registered medical practitioner who has treated you or your dependant for a medical condition - it should be less than 6 months old, clearly show the medical practitioner’s qualifications, be signed and dated and state:
    • the medical condition is a terminal illness and you or your dependant has less than 24 months to live, and
    • palliative care is needed
  • quotes or unpaid invoices to work out the amount of superannuation needed to pay for necessary medical treatment or medical transport

Medical treatment and medical transport grounds

Additional supporting documents you need to provide include:

  • an Early Release of Superannuation on Specified Compassionate Grounds Report by Registered Medical Practitioner form completed by a registered medical practitioner
  • an Early Release of Superannuation on Specified Compassionate Grounds Report by Registered Medical Practitioner form completed by a registered medical specialist - a specialist in the field of the medical condition being categorised as a life threatening illness or injury, acute or chronic pain or an acute or chronic mental illness
  • a report from your medical practitioner and medical specialist - each report should be less than 6 months old, clearly show the medical practitioner’s qualifications, be signed and dated and state:
    • you or your dependant has a life threatening illness or injury, acute or chronic pain, or acute or chronic mental illness
    • treatment isn’t readily available through the public health system
    • the medical treatment is necessary and not just desired, and
    • the medical treatment is necessary to treat an existing medical condition and not to prevent future medical conditions
    • the treatment frequency, location and duration
  • quotes or unpaid invoices to work out the amount of superannuation required to pay for necessary medical treatment or medical transport

Medical transport

Before we approve a release to purchase a private vehicle all suitable transport means will be considered, including:

  • public transport
  • government or non-government providers offering medical transportation services on a fee for service basis
  • private taxi, or
  • hire car

You must provide evidence that at least 60% of the vehicle’s primary use is for medical transport. This is based on 60% of 12,000 km travelled per year and calculated using Australian Bureau of Statistics data as the lowest average kilometres travelled in any state.

Generally evidence is satisfied by providing:

  • treatment locations
  • distance required to travel, and
  • frequency of appointments

This information should be included in the medical report signed by your treating medical practitioner and medical specialist.

Repayments for car loans aren’t considered for medical transport as this is a paid expense.

If you’re having difficulty paying a car loan, it’s considered financial hardship and doesn’t meet a condition for release on compassionate grounds.

Mortgage assistance grounds

You need to provide a written statement from your mortgagee for each loan you’ve secured by your home - it should be no more than 30 days old, on the mortgagee letterhead, be dated and state:

  • that payment of an amount is overdue and the mortgagee will exercise its power of sale over your home if the overdue amount isn’t paid
  • the address of the property under threat of sale
  • the amount equal to 3 months of repayments for the loan
  • the amount equal to 12 months interest on the outstanding balance of the loan, and
  • the name of the mortgagee and the bank account number for the loan

Funeral expenses grounds

You need to provide proof that the dependent has passed away. This can be done by providing:

  • a copy of your dependant’s death certificate, or
  • a letter from your dependant’s medical practitioner confirming they have passed away — it should be on their letterhead, less than 6 months old, clearly show the medical practitioner’s qualifications, be signed and dated

You will also need to provide quotes or unpaid invoices from relevant service providers showing the amount needed to pay for the funeral expense. These must be:

  • on a letterhead
  • dated, and
  • no more than 6 months old for quotes or no more than 30 days old for unpaid invoices

Applying options

You can apply for the Early Release of Superannuation online. If you live outside Australia you can apply by application form.

Online

Apply for the Early Release of Superannuation using the personal details section of your Centrelink online account through myGov. It is secure and convenient to submit your claim online.

If you already have a Centrelink online account

Log on to your Centrelink online account or sign in through myGov to apply online.

myGov

If you do not have a Centrelink online account

Read more about how to register.

Register

If you live outside Australia

If you live outside Australia, call us to request an application form.

Submit your application

After completing your application online, you can submit your application and most supporting documents electronically at the end of the process.

Read more about submitting your documents online.

If you are applying from overseas, return your completed forms and supporting documents by post to:

Department of Human Services
Early release of Superannuation Benefits
PO Box 7832
CANBERRA BC ACT 2610

Application outcome

We’ll assess your application and let you know the outcome in writing. Applications can take up to 28 days to process.

Request review of a decision

You can request we review a decision if you believe we have made an error.

You will need to complete and return the Early Release of Superannuation Benefits on Specified Compassionate Grounds – Request for a review of a decision form within 14 days from the date of the original decision letter. You can submit the form online or by post to:

Department of Human Services
Early release of Superannuation Benefits
PO Box 7832
CANBERRA BC ACT 2610

If your application was closed because we did not receive all required supporting documents, or you have new information for a further release of funds, you will need to submit a new application.

If you do not agree with the decision made by the independent review officer, you can apply to the Commonwealth Ombudsman for review of the decision making process. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can’t direct us to change the decision on your application.

Page last updated: 28 October 2016