Q: I am 42 and unemployed for 6 months.  If I find myself still needing to access my Super funds after I have withdrawn my second lump sum of $10,000 from Super, am I able to access further amounts?

A: As you haven’t reached your preservation age, there are limited circumstances that would allow early access to you superannuation under financial hardship beyond the initiatives announced by the government as a result of coronavirus.

In order to be granted early release on the basis of financial hardship, you would need to be able to provide written evidence that you have been on Government income support for at least 26 consecutive weeks and in receipt of that income support at the time of application for early release.  You also need to demonstrate that you are unable to meet reasonable and immediate living expenses.

If you qualify under financial hardship, your super fund can release a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum gross amount of $10,000. Note early superannuation withdrawals will incur tax on the taxable amount of your benefit of 20% (plus Medicare Levy) as you are under preservation age.

If you do not qualify on the basis of severe financial hardship, you may be able to apply to the Department of Human Services to access your super on specified compassionate grounds. Compassionate grounds could include situations such as: preventing foreclosure on your home by a lending institution; medical treatment for yourself or your family; modifications to the family home to accommodate disability; palliative care and funeral expenses for a dependent.

Note that payments for loans, credit cards and expenses not directly related to the grounds for compassionate release are ineligible for consideration. There are no limits to the release of funds for compassionate grounds other than for mortgages that are limited to loan arrears, three months’ worth of future loan repayments and 12 months interest in advance. Tax is still payable on benefits received. Full details are available at www.humanservices.gov.au.