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In Australia, everyone has a superannuation fund. Although the government normally prohibits you from accessing your superannuation funds until you reach retirement age, there are a few exceptions. These instances are usually tied to specific medical conditions or extreme financial difficulties, and they include situations when you are unable to work due to accident or illness.

Many people are utterly unaware that they may be entitled to early release of super because of illness or injury if they are unable to work due to an injury or illness.

This insurance coverage is normally provided as standard in most superannuation fund policies, or it is a policy that you have purchased or that your employer has established for you.

If a person dies, his or her spouse and children may be eligible for a lump sum payment if a life insurance policy is in place, or they may be able to access it through a person’s superannuation fund or other insurance policies.

It makes no difference who was at fault if you or your loved ones are entitled to superannuation, disability insurance, or death payments. This is a very important thing to understand. Because in the case of a compensation claim for a Motor Vehicle Accident or an injury at work, proving blame is the most important facet. But this is not the case with a TPD or Superannuation claim

If you meet the following criteria, you may be able to access your superannuation funds early:

  • You’ve been receiving Centrelink funds for at least six months and can’t afford to pay your bills.
  • You are above the age of retirement (55-60), have been receiving Centrelink benefits for nine months, and will not be returning to full-time employment.
  • You are over the age of retirement (55-60) yet continue to work.
  • You are unable to work indefinitely.
  • You’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • You are a temporary resident going to depart Australia and have no plans to return.
  • You require funds for palliative care, medical and transportation expenses related to a life-threatening injury or illness, or home or vehicle adaptations due to a severe disability.
  • Where a lender has threatened to sell your house, you must make loan repayments.

Now let’s discuss a few of these in more detail.

Compassionate Grounds

Health-related issues, such as the need to pay for medical treatment or medical transportation for you or a dependent, might be a condition of compassionate release. Compassionate grounds can also relate to the release of payments owing to the possibility of losing a house, or the need to alter a home or vehicle to fit either your unique needs or a dependent with severe impairment. Finally, compassionate grounds can include funds to cover any costs incurred in connection with a death, funeral, or burial.

Anyone who wishes to have their super released early on compassionate grounds must apply to the Department of Human Services (DHS).

The trustee’s ability to pay is limited to what is reasonably required, or, in the event of a home loan, the amount equivalent to or less than three months’ worth of repayments, or 12 months’ worth of interest on the outstanding balance.

Severe financial difficulties

Anyone who has been receiving Commonwealth income support payments for the past 26 weeks and is unable to afford reasonable and immediate family living expenses is eligible. This is usually paid in a lump sum for the year, and the maximum amount that can be paid is limited.

Temporary and permanent incapacity

To be eligible for temporary incapacity, you must have temporarily lost your job due to physical or mental illness. This doesn’t mean you have to stop working totally, but you won’t be eligible if you’re on sick leave, and the super will usually be paid in monthly instalments.

Permanent incapacity indicates that you are unlikely to ever engage in a gainful occupation of the type for which you are properly qualified by education, training, or experience due to ill health (physical or mental). It’s possible that medical certification is required.


When a person dies, the super fund must pay out the member’s super interests. The person’s legal personal representative should contact the member’s fund as soon as possible, and it is strongly advised that you consult with a lawyer to learn about your alternatives.

A Life-Threatening Medical Condition

If you’ve been diagnosed as terminally ill, you may be eligible for early access to your super. However, you must have two medical practitioners declare that you have less than 24 months to live, and one of those practitioners must be a specialist in a field connected to your sickness or injury in order to qualify.

Incapacity for a Limited Time

If you have a medical or mental ailment that prevents you from working full-time or only allows you to work part-time, you can petition for an early release of your superannuation assets. As a result, you will be able to collect your super in regular instalments during that time.

Incapacity for Life

You can request for an early release of super if your fund determines that you are permanently handicapped. To do so, you’ll need to show your fund that you have a long-term medical or mental ailment that will prevent you from working in a position for which you are qualified.

Residents who are only staying for a short time

Those who are temporarily residing in Australia can access their super fund; however, compassionate grounds cannot be used to get an early release of your super. Death, terminal illness, disability, unclaimed money payment, or permanent departure from Australia are among the situations that make you eligible to access your super.

How long will it take for my claim to be processed?

We can usually get these types of claims quicky for you. Depending on the fund, the amount of the benefit, and the complexity of the claim, your claim should be accepted in 3 to 5 months.

What can you do if your claim is denied?

If your claim is denied, you have the right to ask for a formal review of the decision. The other option is to take your case to the courts for review.

We have a track record of successfully contesting and reversing unfair rulings made by super funds and insurance companies without having to go to court.

Are there legal fees?

Yes, there are legal fees, but they are capped and fall until the ambit of a No Win No Fee policy.

What to do next

If you are wanting to seek early release of your super due to illness or injury, don’t go it alone. Talk to one of our expert compensation lawyers today. We can connect you the best lawyers across Australia.