Withdraw early

Under preservation age

Super savings are generally preserved (i.e. not accessible) until you reach preservation age. That’s because super is designed to provide income in your retirement.

Situations when super can be withdrawn earlier include:

  • changing jobs with $200 or less in your super account
  • leaving Australia permanently having been a temporary resident
  • being eligible for invalidity retirement under PSSap rules
  • suffering severe financial hardship or being eligible on compassionate grounds.

See withdrawing super to find out your preservation age.

Use the Withdrawing your super [PDF 875 KB] form to get your super if you change jobs and your balance is $200 or less, or if leave Australia permanently having been a temporary resident.

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 If you choose another fund, your savings are still invested in the super environment (i.e. your savings aren’t withdrawn).

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

More information

Severe financial hardship

To access super on grounds of severe financial hardship you must:

  • have received Commonwealth income support payments for at least 26 continuous weeks (if under age 55) or 39 continuous weeks (if age 55 plus 39 weeks or over) when you lodge your application
  • be able to demonstrate financial hardship (meaning you are unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses).

Only a maximum of $10,000 gross may be released in any 12 month period. One payment only may be made in any 12 month period.

Income support payments must be made by Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Payments include:

  • income support supplements
  • service pensions
  • social security benefits
  • social security pensions.

Ineligible payments include family allowance, Austudy payments or youth allowance payments in relation to full-time study.

More information

See the Centrelink and Department of Veterans’ Affairs websites for more information about Commonwealth income support payments.

Could I be elegible for severe financial hardship?

You must have received Commonwealth income support payments for 26 continuous weeks if you are under age 55 or 39 continuous weeks if you are age 55 plus 39 weeks or over.

You won't be eligible if you own assets that could reasonably and realistically be sold to meet your expenses (according to guidelines issued by DHS). If you have more than $50,000 in assets excluding your principal place of residence, you will not be eligible.

Any assets should be valued at resale not replacement value. For example, if you sell your car, the value is the likely sale price (market value), not the cost to buy a new or similar car.

Your application will be assessed against relevant guidelines and if approved, PSSap determines how much of your benefit will be released. By law, the amount cannot exceed $10,000 gross and only one payment can be approved and paid to you in any 12 month period.

How are common expenses treated in severe financial hardship claims?


Reason for early release of super



How expense is treated      


Personal loans from family and friends


Release will not be granted unless:

  • you provide a statutory declaration from the person to whom you owe the money stating the amount of the loan, the reason the loan was given and that it is due and payable immediately; and
  • you provide documentary evidence (eg, bank statements, bills paid by another person) to substantiate the money was loaned to you.

Credit cards and other loans

Release of enough money (up to $10,000 gross limit) may be granted to reduce an outstanding credit card balance, providing it is the first release of this purpose

All information you provide will be assessed for payment, although the trustee (Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation) must accept the information submitted

If there was a previous release for credit cards or other financial institution loans, only the minimum amount outstanding for the monthly payment due at the date you applied for the release can be granted

Copies of your last three credit card or loan statements must be included with your application (all information must be assessed so do not use blackout pens)

Regular bills

Release for utility expenses such as gas, water and electricity bills will generally be granted if it covers amounts due at the date of your release application and is dated within the last two months (you must provide copies of your outstanding bills).

With sufficient documentary evidence, the following expenses will also generally be granted:

  • rates or body corporate expenses 
  • motor vehicle registration or insurance 
  • medical, home and contents and similar insurance premiums.

Motor vehicle purchases and repairs

Release for the purchase of a motor vehicle will only be granted in exceptional circumstances (eg you live in a remote area and rely on a vehicle for transport).Release for motor vehicle repairs may be granted if they are to make the vehicle roadworthy (you will need to provide a quote that is on business letterhead if applying on these grounds); please also provide a statutory declaration stating why the repair work is essential.

Education expenses

Release for continuing educational expenses for yourself or your immediate family may be granted where these expenses are due and payable in the near future or at the date you apply (please note that you can only be granted one release to pay private school fees). University fees are generally not accepted as these are covered by HECS.

Medical expenses

Releases will only be granted for necessary and outstanding medical bills where documentary evidence is provided; for urgent medical treatment to be undertaken in the near future, you should supply an estimate of the cost involved from your medical practitioner stating the urgency of your medical situation.

Note: For substantial medical costs, contact DHS to authorise the release of super amounts over $10,000.

Mortgage payments

Releases will only be granted to cover minimum outstanding mortgage payments.

Note: If you are in danger of foreclosure on your mortgage, contact DHS.

Establishing a household

Releases may be granted to cover the cost of establishing a household. All claims will be assessed on a case-by-case basis taking into account the circumstances of the individual. A statutory declaration must be supplied that states the exact items needed and the reason why each item is needed (items are limited to essential household items only and cost limits may apply depending on the exact item). Reasonable priced quotes from a minimum of two retail suppliers must be provided, including a quote from a second hand dealer. Generally, the delegate would only consider releasing an amount to purchase essential household items on one occasion. You can also provide a letter from your real estate or landlord that details the bond and rent you must pay.

General shortfall in living expenses

Releases will not be granted to cover a general shortfall between your income and expenses (releases can only be approved to cover specific outstanding expenses).

Discretionary expenditure

Releases will not be granted to cover the cost of discretionary items such as televisions, music systems, computers, internet access, DVD players, dishwashers or similar.

Compassionate grounds

If you do not qualify on grounds of severe financial hardship, you can ask the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services (DHS) to approve release on specified grounds.

This can cover costs for you or your dependants such as:

  • medical expenses
  • home renovations necessitated by severe disability
  • mortgage payments to prevent loss of your home
  • palliative care or death, funeral or burial expenses for a member or their dependant(s).

All enquires for release on compassionate grounds should be directed to DHS.

See the DHS website for more about the early release of super on specified grounds.

Could I be eligible on compassionate grounds?

To confirm if you are eligible for early release of super benefits on compassionate grounds, you should speak to the Australian Government's Department of Human Services (DHS).

Visit the DHS website for the best way to contact DHS.

Which components of my PSSap super can be released?

Any early release of your super savings on financial hardship grounds will be subject to proportioning rules. These require your taxable and tax-free components to be spread in equal proportions across those parts of the benefit payment you receive as cash.

View how super is taxed for information about the tax components of super.

How will eligible funds be paid to me?

Eligible funds will be paid to the bank account you nominate on your application form or by cheque

Apply for early release of super

Severe financial hardship

Complete the .

Compassionate grounds

You must apply to the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services. You must also complete the .