Q: I was made redundant 11 months ago and have been on unemployment benefits for five months. I am 48 years old and am struggling financially with few employment options on the horizon. Is there any way I can access my superannuation early?
A: Because you were born after 30 June 1964 your preservation age (age at which you can access your superannuation if you are retired) is 60. Preservation age has been steadily increasing since 2015, when it was 55, and will remain at 60 at least for the immediate future. This means you won’t be able to access your full superannuation for another twelve years; however, there are a number of exceptions to this restriction on access, the one relevant to your case is the provision for severe financial hardship. According to the ATO, you may be eligible to access some of your super if you have been receiving continuous eligible forms of government support for a minimum of 26 weeks. You will still only be able to withdraw between $1,000 and $10,000 in any twelve-month period, but it will hopefully provide some financial relief. If you have been on unemployment benefits for five months, you will be fairly close to that minimum threshold, so it is worth talking to the ATO, your super fund or a financial advisor beforehand so that you can access some of your super as soon as possible.
As published in the Western Suburbs Weekly