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Generally speaking, superannuation is preserved until you retire, meaning that you can't access it until that time. Some people, however, may have part of their account classed as unrestricted non-preserved, meaning that it may be withdrawn at any time. Any restricted non-preserved portion may be withdrawn when employment is terminated. Your superannuation statement will show if you have any non-preserved monies in your account.

In other limited circumstances, you may be allowed to withdraw some of your preserved superannuation such as:

  • If you suffer permanent incapacity for work
  • In cases of severe financial hardship
  • On specified (compassionate) grounds
  • If you are an eligible temporary resident of Australia who has the option of accessing their super benefits after permanently leaving Australia
  • Upon termination of gainful employment on or after 1 July 1997 where your preserved benefits at the time of the termination are less than $200. 

You may also have limited access to your superannuation as you transition to retirement.