Withdraw super

Super can provide income in retirement

Because super is a long-term investment for your future, there are rules restricting when you can access it. Generally, you can only withdraw super once you reach:

  • your preservation age and permanently retire, or
  • age 60 and leave your employer, or
  • age 65.

Rolling out your super to another fund is not withdrawing your super. If you choose another fund, your savings are still invested in the super environment (ie your savings aren't withdrawn).

More information

Your preservation age

Your preservation age is generally the minimum age you can access your super. It is set by law and ranges from 55 to 60 depending on your date of birth:

Your date of birth                   Preservation age                                  
Before 1 July 1960 55 years
1 July 1960 to 30 June 1961 56 years
1 July 1961 to 30 June 1962

57 years

1 July 1962 to 30 June 1963 58 years
1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964 59 years
After 1 July 1964 60 years

Situations you can withdraw super (conditions of release)

You must meet a condition of release to withdraw some or all of your super such as:

  • reaching your retirement age (generally 65)
  • ceasing employment on or after age 60
  • retiring permanently on or after your preservation age
  • being eligible for invalidity retirement (under PSSap rules and super legislation)
  • being eligible for permanent incapacity (under PSSap rules and super legislation)
  • being terminally ill
  • suffering severe financial hardship or being eligible on compassionate grounds under government super rules
  • changing jobs and your account balance is under $200
  • permanently leaving Australia as a foreign national who was a temporary resident on a specified class of visa
  • reaching your preservation age and continuing to work while transitioning to retirement.

See the Tax and your PSSap super [PDF 616 KB] booklet for information on the potential tax implications of withdrawing super benefits before age 60.

Transition strategies to boost super or phase in retirement

If you have reached your preservation age but have not yet retired, you can consider a transition to retirement strategy. That's where you receive regular income payments from some of your super savings while you continue to work (ad hoc withdrawals generally aren't allowed).

Depending on your needs and goals, the tax advantages of this strategy could help you to save a higher final benefit, or to reduce work hours in the lead-up to retirement.

See transition to retirement to learn more about transition strategies.

Retrenchment or dismissal

If you accept a voluntary redundancy or are dismissed from your job in the Australian Public Service (APS), you cannot automatically withdraw your PSSap super.

By law you must meet a 'condition of release' first. We can only pay benefits in accordance with the PSSap rules and the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act). These set out the conditions of release that must be satisfied before benefits can be paid.

For example, if you accept a voluntary redundancy but have not yet reached your preservation age, your PSSap super benefits are preserved and cannot be paid to you. You can rollout some or all of your benefit to another fund at any time.

See rollout super for information on exiting PSSap to another fund.

Components of your super benefit

Your PSSap benefit may consist of up to three components:

  1. a preserved benefit - which must generally be  kept in a super fund until either permanently retiring from the workforce after reaching your preservation age, permanently leaving the workforce after reaching age 60, or reaching age 65
  2. a restricted non-preserved benefit - which can only be accessed under the same circumstances as preserved benefit, or it can be withdrawn when you stop working in Australian Government employment
  3. an unrestricted non-preserved benefit - which can be withdrawn at any time but you may have to pay tax (eg your super balance when changing jobs if $200 or less).

Super components can be withdrawn in the following situations:

Preserved and restricted non-preserved benefits

Benefits can be withdrawn if you:

  • leave the workforce permanently on or after age 60
  • retire permanently on or after your preservation age
  • are approved for permanent invalidity retirement or permanent incapacity by the trustee of PSSap, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, which certifies that you are entitled to receive invalidity benefits under PSSap rules and super legislation
  • are eligible for early release for severe financial hardship or on compassionate grounds as determined by government super rules
  • change jobs and your PSSap account balance is $200 or less
  • leave Australia permanently having been a temporary resident on a specified class of visa
  • develop a terminal illness
  • die (paid to your eligible dependants and/or your estate).

Unrestricted non-preserved benefits

Benefits can be withdrawn at any time generally. Benefits usually consist of previously restricted non-preserved and preserved benefits where you have satisfied a condition of release, or unrestricted non-preserved amounts transferred in from another fund.

If you withdraw part of your benefit before age 60, the amount paid to you will include both tax-free and taxable components in the same proportion as in your total benefit.

Read the Tax and your PSSap super [PDF 616 KB] booklet to learn how super withdrawals are taxed.

Super and family law splits

Super can be split between two people if a marriage or de facto relationship breaks down. It is not mandatory, but if a superannuation interest is to be split by agreement or court order, a new and separate PSSap superannuation interest may be created.

PSSap will provide information about a super interest to help in negotiating a property settlement under the Family Law Act 1975. The information is used to calculate the value of a superannuation interest to assist in court proceedings or in the preparation of a super agreement.

Only eligible persons can apply for this information, defined by law as:

  • the member
  • a spouse of the member (the non-member spouse)
  • a person who intends to enter into a super agreement (including a pre-nuptial agreement) with a member.

Rollout to another fund

You can rollout some or all of your benefit to another fund at any time.

 See rollout super for information on exiting PSSap to another fund.