Accessing your super early

How to access your super early under special circumstances

Super is designed to help you save for your retirement. But when the unexpected happens, it’s good to know you may be able to withdraw some of your super early. Here’s what you need to know.

When can you access your super?

Generally, you can access your super without restrictions when;

  • You turn 65, even if you’re still working
  • You reach preservation age (from 1 July 2024, this will be 60 for most people) and continue working (Transition to Retirement)
  • You reach preservation age and stop working 

Accessing your super early

You may be able to access some of your super if you meet specific conditions, including:

  • Severe financial hardship 
  • Compassionate grounds
  • Terminal illness or permanent incapacity
  • Permanently leaving Australia
  • Having less than $200 in your super fund
  • Saving a deposit for your first home

Important note: Financial hardship payments are taxed as a super lump sum. If you're aged under 60, this is generally taxed between 17% and 22%. Super withdrawals for those aged 60 and over are not subject to tax unless the lump sum includes an untaxed element. It’s important to seek professional financial advice before making any decisions.

Early access to super

Eligibility checker tool

Superannuation is designed as a long-term investment to fund your retirement. Normally, you can’t take out your super until:

  • You turn 65 years old; or
  • You retire and you’re over your preservation age 59-60 (from 1 July 2024, this will be age 60 for everyone).

However, under some circumstances, like severe financial hardship or compassionate grounds, you may be able to access some of your super early.

Not sure? Check your eligibility now.

Please note, this tool provides guidance only and does not guarantee approval.

Are you 65 or older?

Are you aged between 60 and 64?

Is any of your super unrestricted non-preserved?

Not sure? Check the Balance Summary Breakdown in your Member Online dashboard.

Are you under the preservation age?

If you were born after 1 July 1964, your preservation age is 60.

Have you been making voluntary contributions into your super fund and are now looking to withdraw it as part of the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS)?


Are you unwell or injured, unable to work either temporarily or permanently?

Are you eligible for early withdrawal on compassionate grounds?

Do you think you might meet another condition of release such as:

  • Your employment is terminated, and the balance of your super account is less than $200, or
  • You have found a lost super account with a balance less than $200, or
  • You were a temporary resident in Australia, and your temporary visa has expired or been cancelled, or
  • You were a temporary resident in Australia, and you have left permanently.

You have full access to your super savings, even if you haven’t retired.

How to withdraw your super

  • Download and complete our Apply for withdrawal form.
  • Return your completed form to:
    Mercer Super Trust, GPO Box 4303, Melbourne, VIC 3001.
  • You can access your super if you’ve permanently retired and reached your preservation age (60 for everyone after 1 July 2024).
  • If you leave your job on or after age 60, you can also access the super you’ve saved up until then
  • If you’re not ready to retire, you can use some of your super while you’re still working with a Transition to Retirement Allocated Pension

If you’ve been experiencing severe financial hardship, you can withdraw all or part of your super if you meet certain conditions. . However, you must provide adequate evidence to satisfy the Trustee the conditions have been met. These include:

  • Being unemployed or working less than 10 hours a week when you make your application, and
  • Receiving eligible Commonwealth income support for a cumulative period of 39 weeks since reaching your preservation age

For further details, visit Claiming financial hardship.

If some of your super is unrestricted non-preserved, you can access this at any time. You can check this by logging into your account at or by checking your most recent statement.

How to withdraw your super

  • Download and complete our Apply for withdrawal form.
  • Return your completed form to:
  • Mercer Super Trust, GPO Box 4303, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

You may be eligible to withdraw a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $10,000 within a 12-month period if you meet certain conditions. These include:

  • You haven’t received a financial hardship payment from any super fund within the last 12 months,
  • You’re unable to pay for reasonable and immediate essential family living expenses  (for example, food or rent), and
  • You’ve been receiving eligible Commonwealth  support income payments from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans Affairs for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks with no gaps, and
  • you’re receiving these payments when you make your application.

For further details, visit our Claiming financial hardship page.

How to withdraw your super

The Australian Government introduced the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme in July 2017 to help younger Australians save for a deposit on a first home.

To be eligible, you must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Be aged 18 years or older
  • You’ve been making voluntary super contributions to your super any time during the period from 1 July 2017
  • You intend to live in the property you buy as soon as practicable and for at least 6 months within the first 12 months.
  • You have not previously owned a home and this is your first time using the scheme

For further details, visit our FHSS scheme page.

To be eligible, you must satisfy all the conditions and apply through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

If you’re dealing with an injury or illness that’s preventing you from working, you may be eligible to claim benefits from the insurance in your super, such as Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) or Income Protection (also known as Salary Continuance) cover.

To be eligible for a benefit claim, you must show that:

  • You’re unable to work due to a disabling condition, either temporarily or permanently
  • Meet the eligibility criteria specified in your Plan guide or Insurance Booklet

Check to see if you have insurance cover in your super by logging in to

Discover more about our insurance cover options.

To access your super on compassionate grounds, your application must first be approved by the Australian Taxation Office.

Compassionate grounds include an obligation to meet unpaid expenses for:

  • medical treatment and medical transport for you or a dependant
  • palliative care expenses resulting from a terminal illness for you or your a dependant
  • payment on a loan or council rates so you don’t lose your home
  • modifying your home or vehicle, or buying disability aids for you or your a dependant because of a severe disability
  • a death, funeral or burial for a dependant.

For more information, visit the ATO website for more information or call 13 10 20.

To apply, you will need to complete both the:

  1. Online application at
  2. Download and complete our Financial hardship application form.

If your employment has been terminated and you hold less than $200 in your account:

  • Call our Helpline on 1800 682 525. Monday to Friday, 8am-7pm (AEST/AEDT).

If you have a lost super account with a balance with less than $200

  • This is managed directly through the ATO. For more information and to apply to have it paid to you visit the ATO website here

If you are/were a temporary resident in Australia:

Need help? Call our Helpline on 1800 682 525. Monday to Friday, 8am-7pm (AEST/AEDT).

More information

If you’re considering accessing your super, consider obtaining professional advice for your personal situation. All Mercer Super Trust members have access to our Helpline Advice team.

Learn more here:

Support is available outside of your super:

  • National Debt Helpline provides free, confidential financial counselling to help people back on their feet. Call 1800 007 007 or visit
  • 1800RESPECT is available for those in risk of sexual assault, elder abuse or family and domestic violence. Call 1800 737 732 or visit
  • Lifeline Australia (24 hours) is available round-the-clock for those who need to talk to someone at suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14 or visit


For other support services, refer to our financial hardship webpage.

Financial hardship 

Navigating financial challenges can be overwhelming. If you’re facing severe financial hardship and unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses, you may be eligible to access some of your super.

  • If you’ve been receiving an eligible Commonwealth income support payment for 26 consecutive weeks (just under 6 months). 
  • You can take out some or all of your super if you have unrestricted non-preserved super. To check, log in to your Member Online account.

To apply for the early release of your super under financial hardship, complete and return the Mercer Super Financial Hardship form and fact sheet. Learn more about accessing your super through financial hardship here.


Compassionate grounds 

If you don’t qualify for a hardship withdrawal, the ATO may allow you to access your super early on compassionate grounds. This can include if you or a dependant require medical treatment or palliative care, a home or a vehicle modification due to a severe disability, you need to pay for funeral expenses or mortgage payments in default.

To begin the process, you will need to apply directly to the ATO. If approved, they’ll send us the required documentation to release your funds.

Terminal illness or TPD

Dealing with a terminal illness or Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) is incredibly difficult. Depending on your situation, you may be able to access some or all of your super. If you have insurance within your super, you may be able to make a claim for any Death or TPD cover in your account. 

Call us on 1800 682 525 so we can help you through the process. 

Risks of accessing your super early

When it comes to accessing your super early, you need to be mindful of a few risks and considerations. 

  • Potentially having to pay tax on the super you withdraw 
  • The amount of income you will have to spend in retirement
  • Loss of protection from creditors (funds in super are protected from creditors) 
  • Any insurance in your super account 
  • Impacts on any government income support payments you currently receive

It’s important to consider these potential risks carefully and seek professional financial advice before making any decisions.

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You don’t have to face this alone

As part of your membership, our Helpline Advice team can provide financial advice about your Mercer Super account. No minimum requirements – all you need is a Mercer Super account.

Explore early super access options

Each pathway to accessing your super early lets you take out a different amount.

Eligibility criteria and access option How much you can withdraw How to access
Financial hardship Minimum $1,000 up to a maximum of $10,000 Financial hardship form
Medical conditions: Permanent incapacity Up to your full balance, plus any TPD insurance Call us on 1800 682 525
Medical conditions: Terminal illness Up to your full balance, plus any death insurance Call us on 1800 682 525
Compassionate grounds: Medical and/or financial hardship ATO decides ATO – Compassionate grounds
Temporary Visa: Permanently leaving Australia Full balance ATO – DASP online application
First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSS) Total of $50,000 of your voluntary contributions ATO FHSS

Frequently asked questions

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Insurance in super

Having insurance in your super is an easy way of helping ensure financial security for you and your loved ones if something happens to you.

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Advice at the right time

As a Mercer Super member, you can access advice when you need it. No minimum requirements – all you need is a Mercer Super account.

Need more help? We’ve got you covered.

Have questions about Mercer Super or need more information about becoming a member? We’d love to hear from you.

Member Online Support

Member Online support

Log in to your account for more information or to submit an online enquiry.

Contact Our Helpline

Contact our helpline

Visit the member support page or call 1800 682 525, Monday to Friday, 8am-7pm (AEST/ AEDT).


Disclaimer: This document has been prepared and sent on behalf of Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited (‘Mercer Super’), ABN 79 004 717 533, Australian Financial Services Licence #235906, the trustee of the Mercer Super Trust ABN 19 905 422 981. Any advice contained in this document is of a general nature only, and does not take into account the personal needs and circumstances of any particular individual. Prior to acting on any information contained in this document, you need to take into account your own financial circumstances. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement, Product Guide, Insurance Guide, and Financial Services Guide before making a decision about the product, or seek professional advice from a licensed, or appropriately authorised financial adviser if you are unsure of what action to take. 'MERCER' is a registered trademark of Mercer (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 32 005 315 917. The material contained in this document is based on information received in good faith from sources within the market and on our understanding of legislation and government press releases at the date of publication which we believe to be reliable and accurate. Neither Mercer nor any of its related parties accepts any responsibility for any inaccuracy.