Mozo guides

How to withdraw your superannuation

Old couple walk up a staircase of money as they start the process of withdrawing superannuation

Ever wondered about how and when you’ll access your superannuation?

No matter the stage of your career, knowing how to withdraw super is important. To get you prepared, this guide will cover topics like the types of super withdrawal options available and how much you can actually withdraw. So let’s get into it.

When can you withdraw your super?

In order to withdraw super, there is a criteria to meet. Some instances when you can start accessing the money in your fund include:

  • When you’re 65 years old or older.
  • You have reached your preservation age and retired.
  • If you fall under the transition to retirement rules. (If you semi-retire and reach your preservation age, you could start a transition to retirement income stream or TRIS). This allows you partial access to your super.
  • Early access to super. You can access your super early under certain circumstances, which we’ll explore in more detail later.

What is the preservation age?

The preservation age is the age at which you can access your super. 

Your date of birth determines when your preservation age is, and you can check the table below to find out whether you’ve reached this age. 

Date of birth
Preservation age
Have you reached the preservation age?
Before 1 July 1960
1 July 1960 - 30 June 1961
1 July 1961 - 30 June 1962
1 July 1962 - 30 June 1963
1 July 1963 - 30 June 1964
After 1 July 1964
If you are born after this date, you will reach your preservation age when you turn 60 years old. 

Types of super withdrawal: income stream, lump sum, partial access

Three people chase after a large coin as they try to decide their super withdrawal type

Once you have reached the preservation age, you can choose to receive your super in different withdrawal frequencies and amounts. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

Income stream: Withdrawing your super in the form of an income stream functions similarly to getting paid a consistent salary, and you can even choose to be paid on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis. If you’re someone who likes to map out a budget, this could potentially be a good way to receive your super payments.

Lump sum: Claiming your super as a lump sum withdrawal means that you take out either one large payment, or a few. However, do note that taking out many lump sum payments could be regarded as an income stream. Alternatively, you could even choose to receive your super as a combination of an income stream and a lump sum.

Partial access: The transition to retirement income stream (TRIS) allows you to use a portion of your super to maintain the same amount of income while working less hours. You’re generally not allowed to withdraw your super as a lump sum payment though. 

To work out the most beneficial arrangement, you might consider your financial situation and what your specific needs are. For example, if you plan to use the money to clear a debt while maintaining your daily living expenses, you might prefer to receive your super as a combination lump sum payment and income stream. As everyone’s situation is different, obtaining financial advice relevant to your circumstances before making decisions could be something to think about too. 

How much can you withdraw from your super?

If you’re not under a TRIS, there’s a minimum amount you must withdraw each year, depending on your age and account balance, but there is no maximum amount. To figure out a general estimate of the minimum amount you can withdraw for certain pensions, have a look at the table below:

2023 income year - onwards (minimum amount is as a percentage of your account balance)
Under 65
95 and above

Also, for Aussies receiving a transition to retirement income stream there are restrictions on how much you can take out of your super. For instance, you might only be able to access between 4-10% of your super fund’s balance each financial year if you’re under 65 years old. 

In terms of a lump sum, you could potentially withdraw some or all of your super. It just depends on what your fund’s rules are for doing so. 

Claiming your super

Person is reaching out for bags of money so they can claim super

Every superannuation fund provider's process is different when it comes to claiming super. However, you can typically expect to complete a withdrawal form, which will include information such as: 

  • Your personal details. Including things like your name, date of birth, tax file number, and unique superannuation identifier of your super fund.
  • Employment details (if applicable).
  • Meeting the conditions of release. This is usually a checklist to assess your eligibility for claiming super. 
  • Proof of identity documents. You may be asked to provide copies of your passport, driver’s licence and Medicare card. As these documents must be certified, you might consent to having them electronically certified when submitting an online application. But if you’re mailing your application, you might ask someone at your local police station if they will certify your ID, for example. 
  • Withdrawal details. You might be asked to state your intention to receive a lump sum payment, income stream, transfer your super into another fund, or make a full withdrawal.
  • Payment details. This section of the form may ask you whether you’d like your super transferred into a nominated bank account, or another super fund.

Once you’ve sent off your application to claim super, it can take approximately 5 business days before any funds hit your nominated bank account. This is assuming that your provider has received all of the information they need and there are no delays.

What is early access to super?

Clock and piggy bank are side-by-side to convey early access to super

Gaining early access to your super means being able to withdraw money out of your superannuation fund before reaching the preservation age or without meeting the usual necessary requirements. 

While it’s possible to gain early access to your super, it’s only allowed under very limited circumstances. Here are some situations where you may qualify:

  • Compassionate grounds. You might be able to withdraw some of your super if you have an overdue expense and have no other way to pay for it. This includes a situation where you require medical treatment, or are at risk of losing your home and need funds to make a repayment on your home loan.
  • Severe financial hardship. If you’re undergoing severe financial hardship and for instance, can’t sustain your immediate household living costs, you could try speaking to your super provider about releasing some of your funds. 
  • Temporary incapacity. In the event that your ability to work is temporarily compromised due to a medical condition, you may be able to receive your super in the form of an income stream until you get back on your feet. Additionally, if you have insurance benefits linked to your super account, you might try contacting your provider to see if you can access this feature.
  • Permanent incapacity. If you’re unlikely to ever be able to work again because you’ve been impacted by a permanent condition, it’s possible to access your super as an income stream or a lump sum payment. However, you could be taxed on the funds you take out.
  • Super less than $200. Maybe you have lost super, or your employment has been terminated and the balance in your fund is less than $200. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be able to claim your super.

Tax on super withdrawals

A group of people hang around a calculator and money as they calculate tax on super withdrawals.

If certain requirements aren’t met, you may have to pay taxes on super withdrawals. Here are some situations where your super could be taxed, according to withdrawal type:

Income stream: Generally speaking, you won’t have to pay taxes if you’re aged 60 or older and make a super withdrawal. But different tax rules apply if you’re under 60 years old, where you’ll usually pay your marginal tax rate. Your marginal rate is the tax bracket you’re in when you factor in your income. 

Transition to retirement stream: If you decide to go on a TRIS and are under 60 years old then you may be subject to tax. The amount of tax you pay will be at your marginal tax rate.

Lump sum: Taxes are payable if the withdrawal you’re making from your super fund is a before-tax contribution. This is also known as a concessional contribution. 

Another instance where you could be taxed is making a withdrawal when you:

  • Have reached your preservation age
  • Are under 60 years old
  • Withdraw more than the low rate cap ($235,000).

If you meet all three conditions, your tax rate will either be your marginal tax rate, or at a rate of 17% which includes the Medicare levy. The tax rate that you’re expected to pay is the lower of the two.

Transferring your super into another fund

Money is transferred from one device to another to symbolise a complete rollover of super fund

If you’ve changed employers, or have decided your fund’s performance hasn’t been what you expected, then you might be thinking about transferring your super to another fund. There are three ways you can go about withdrawing your super for this purpose:

  1. Complete an ATO rollover form. This will transfer all of your super into your nominated super fund.
  2. Speak with your new provider. Making a request with your super fund could give you the option of a partial transfer. 
  3. Transfer your super online. You can do this through your myGov account after it’s been linked to the ATO.

Just be aware that insurance options with super funds can differ, so be sure to compare all features before consolidating.

As such, it’s important to do your research when thinking about changing funds and whether doing so will bring benefits that are useful to you.

Now that you know how to withdraw your super, why not head over to our superannuation guides hub to learn more about preparing your retirement fund.

Withdrawing superannuation FAQs

How much can I withdraw from super tax free?

The amount you can usually withdraw from your super tax free depends on the amount of money in your fund that has already been taxed. So if you contribute your after-tax income into the fund during the accumulation phase, you can later withdraw this amount without paying any additional tax.

What’s the maximum amount I can withdraw from my super once retired?

There is no maximum amount you can withdraw from your super once retired, provided you’ve met a condition of release. So if you’re over 65 years old and working, or have reached your preservation age and retired, for example, you can withdraw as much of your super as you’d like. 

As for the minimum amount you can withdraw from your super once retired, it’s a percentage of your account balance that you can check out in the section above that shows you how much you can withdraw from your super.

Can I withdraw my super to pay off debt?

Yes, in some cases you can withdraw your super to pay off debt. For instance, if you’ve experienced severe financial hardship, you may be able to use some of your super to pay for things like outstanding bills or personal loans. It can’t be for debts that aren’t due yet, though.

What are the rules for using super to buy my first home?

The rules for using super to buy your first home are that you can request up to $15,000 of your super to be used on your first home in a given financial year, and a maximum of $50,000 of your super across several years. So the maximum amount you can request over 3 financial years is $45,000, for example. Just note though, you can only make one request to have your funds released under the FHSS scheme

Sophie Wong
Sophie Wong
Money writer

Coming from a background in financial services and criminology, Sophie strives to get others excited about their money journey as they reach their financial goals. She aims to make things like budgeting a fulfilling achievement rather than a dreaded task.