accessing your super early

Sometimes, life is hard. Really hard. And it’s in these times that you need support the most.
Your super is locked away until you reach preservation age. However, if you’re affected by debt or have compassionate needs, you may be able to access some of your super early.
When you might be able to access your super early depends on being able to meet specific criteria. There are also restrictions on what you’re allowed to use your super money for once you’ve accessed it.

access to your super due to financial hardship


Who can apply for financial hardship?

You can apply for one payment of up to $10,000 gross (which is before tax) in a 12-month period if:

  • you’ve received eligible Commonwealth Government income support payments for at least 26 continuous weeks, and
  • are currently receiving these payments, and
  • you are unable to meet reasonable and immediate living expenses.

You can apply for any amount if:

  • you’ve reached your preservation age plus 39 weeks, and
  • you’ve received eligible Commonwealth Government income support payments for at least 39 cumulative weeks since reaching your preservation age, and
  • you are currently either unemployed, or you are employed for less than 10 hours a week.


Tax on financial hardship payments

The amount is paid and taxed as a lump sum. If you’re aged under 60 the amount will be taxed between 17% and 22%. If you’re aged over 60, the amount will be tax-free.


How to apply for financial hardship

Read and complete the Financial hardship fact sheet and form (pdf) to apply. 

Return your completed form and other supporting documentation to us via email: or mail to: HESTA, Locked Bag 5136, Parramatta NSW 2124.



access to your super on compassionate grounds


The process of accessing your super on compassionate grounds is handled by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). For the ATO to agree to release the funds from your super, you’ll need to prove you’re unable to meet the expenses for one or more of the following:

  • medical treatment and medical transport for you or your dependant
  • making a payment on a home loan or council rates so you don't lose your home
  • modifying your home or vehicle to accommodate your or your dependant's severe disability
  • palliative care for you or your dependant
  • expenses associated with the death, funeral or burial of your dependant.


To apply, access the ATO application form, or visit linked services in myGov. Alternatively call the ATO on 13 10 20.



find support services outside of super
with Ask Izzy 


We’ve partnered with Infoxchange, the not-for-profit social enterprise behind Ask Izzy: a free service that helps Australians find and access local support services.

If you need some help outside of super, the Ask Izzy website can connect you with nearby support services across Australia. You can search for over 430,000 services close to you, including financial assistance, meals, mental health counselling, shelter, family violence support, and much more.


Find support services





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