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How much super can I access at 55?

Vidhu Bajaj avatar
Vidhu Bajaj
- 3 min read
How much super can I access at 55?

Most super funds in Australia offer preserved benefits which you can only withdraw when you reach the stipulated age of preservation and even then only conditionally. Unrestricted, unconditional access to super usually requires you to reach 65 or retire from your job. 

For instance, if you were born before 1 July 1960, you would have reached the age of preservation on your 55th birthday, which means you can withdraw some percentage of your super benefits even if you don’t retire. 

However, you likely won’t have any choice in how you can receive payments from your super fund. Consider finding out when you reach your age of preservation.

Can I access my super at 55 and still work?

Suppose you reach your age of preservation at 55 but don’t want to retire just yet. You could still withdraw some amount of super, but only through a transition-to-retirement income stream (TRIS), which you can use either to supplement your income or to invest further for your retirement.

Depending on the minimum income payment stipulated by your super fund, you could withdraw between four per cent and 10 per cent of your super balance each year. Further, you may qualify for withdrawing your super as either a lump sum or a TRIS if you quit working - or stop receiving an income - at 60, but these conditions don’t apply once you reach 65 years of age. 

Remember that you may need to pay tax on the super withdrawal, which could be subject to income caps as well. Consulting a financial adviser about the implications of withdrawing super as a TRIS may help ensure you can make full use of the limited super benefits available to you. 

Your employer need not know about you receiving super benefits as an income stream, even if you make concessional super contributions through a salary sacrificing arrangement. Similarly, you don’t need to inform your super fund manager that you are continuing to work while opting to start the TRIS.

How does accessing super change if I am over 55?

As long as you reach your age of preservation at 55, your super withdrawal options don’t change much until you either reach 65 or terminate your employment after turning 60. You could withdraw all your super benefits if you stop working at or after 60 years of age, even if you start working again later - and accumulate more super. 

Remember that the current super rules allow you to contribute to your super at least until the age of 67, whereas you can withdraw super benefits in any form without restriction after 65. You could, for instance, choose to withdraw super benefits as an income stream once you reach your age of preservation and continue making super contributions as long as possible.

Super rules also allow you to withdraw super if you are forced to stop working because of a temporary or permanent disability, even without reaching your age of preservation. While there are no restrictions on how you can withdraw super if you are permanently incapacitated, you can only receive super benefits as an income stream while temporarily disabled. 

Further, you may not qualify for receiving super benefits due to temporary incapacity if you are receiving sick leave benefits from your employer. Your super fund may also have separate rules for releasing super benefits on compassionate grounds, such as financial hardship or a terminal medical condition.

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Product database updated 15 Jul, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.