When you can access your super

Your super is set aside for your retirement, but you may be able to access it before you retire in special circumstances. You can usually access your super for the following reasons:

  • Reaching your preservation age
  • Financial hardship
  • Compassionate grounds
  • Leaving Australia
  • Buying a home.
  • Reaching your preservation age

    Once you reach your preservation age (between 55 and 60, depending on your birth date) you can:

    • retire and withdraw your super
    • retire and use it to start an income stream
    • use your super to help you transition to retirement.

    You can withdraw your super if you leave a job for any reason after you turn 60. Once you turn 65, you can access your super whether you’re still working or not.


    Find your preservation age

    Your preservation age according to your birth date.

    If you were born Your preservation age is
    Before 1 July 1960 55
    1 July 1960 - 30 June 1961 56
    1 July 1961 - 30 June 1962 57
    1 July 1962 - 30 June 1963 58
    1 July 1963 - 30 June 1964 59
    1 July 1964 or after 60

    How to withdraw your super

    piggy bank with coins

    Start a regular income

    We offer 3 pension products for choice and flexibility.


    Make a full or partial withdrawal

    Complete the withdrawal form and fact sheet (PDF, 663 KB) and return it to us, along with certified copies of your ID. 

  • Financial hardship

    If you’re experiencing financial difficulties, we’re here to help. Call us on 1800 331 685 to find out if you have other options, such as making an insurance claim, before applying to withdraw your super.

    If you haven’t reached preservation age

    You might be able to withdraw some of your super if you can’t meet your living expenses and have received Commonwealth income support for 26 continuous weeks.
    You can generally apply to withdraw between $1,000 and $10,000 in a 12-month period, or your whole balance if it’s less than $1,000. Your withdrawal may be taxed up to 22%.

    If you've reached preservation age

    You can apply to take some or all your super without retiring if you’re at your preservation age plus 39 weeks and:

    • have received Commonwealth income support for a total of 39 weeks after reaching your preservation age
    • work fewer than 10 hours a week on the date you apply.

    How to apply

    We can help you work out if you’re eligible to apply. Call 1800 331 685 with your Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN).

    Complete the Severe financial hardship fact sheet and form (PDF, 147 KB) and return it to us.

  • Compassionate grounds

    You may be able to access your super on compassionate grounds if you need it to cover the cost of:

    • medical treatment or transport for you or a dependant
    • palliative care for you or a dependant
    • modifications to your home and/or car due to severe disability 
    • a funeral for a dependant
    • your mortgage so you don’t lose your home.

    How to apply under compassionate grounds

    Firstly, you need to apply to the ATO.

    If successful, complete the Compassionate grounds application form (PDF, 147 KB) and return it to us along with certified copies of your ID.

  • Departing Australia

    If you’ve earned super in Australia and it’s time to leave, you can apply to withdraw your super as a Departing Australia Super Payment (DASP).

    How to apply

    Apply for the DASP with the ATO once you have left Australia and no longer have an Australian visa. Check with your employer to ensure they’ve made all your super contributions.

    You’ll need to provide:

    • your employment details
    • your passport number
    • your UniSuper member number
    • UniSuper’s ABN (91 385 943 850)

    The ATO will tell us when they’ve approved your application. Check your details are up to date so we can contact you to arrange your payment. Restrictions may apply around the countries and currencies we pay in. Bank fees may also apply.


    You can generally claim a DASP if:

    • you’ve earned super while working in Australia on a temporary resident visa
    • your visa has expired or been cancelled
    • you’ve left Australia
    • you’re not an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident of Australia.

    If you haven’t yet left Australia or your visa is still in effect, you can start your application and submit it when you’re eligible to. If your visa hasn’t yet expired, contact the Department of Home Affairs to cancel it.

    Tax and your DASP

    Generally, you’ll pay tax on the taxable component of your super:

    • 65% for Working Holiday Makers
    • 35% for other visa holders

    If you’ve earned more than $250,000 in a financial year and paid the extra 15% tax on your super contributions (the division 293 tax), you can apply to the ATO for a refund of the extra tax.

    New Zealand residents

    You may be able to transfer your super to a New Zealand KiwiSaver account. Download the KiwiSaver fact sheet (PDF, 155 KB) for more information.

    If you don’t claim your super

    We’re required to transfer your super to the ATO 6 months from the date your visa expired, or you left Australia, whichever is later. You can still apply to withdraw your super from the ATO.

    If you have any questions, call us on 1800 331 685 (+61 3 8831 6141 outside Australia) or contact us.

    document download

    Download the DASP fact sheet (PDF 73 KB) for more information.

  • Buying a home

    You can withdraw some of your voluntary contributions (plus associated earnings) to pay for a home deposit under the First Home Super Saver Scheme.

Things to consider before you withdraw your super

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