28 November 2018

Treasury has released a paper seeking feedback on draft proposals for reform of the rules governing the early release of superannuation benefits on compassionate and severe financial hardship grounds. These proposals were reviewed in an initial consultation paper released in December 2017.

The proposed changes to relax certain aspects of the current system and provide more scope for individuals to obtain early release. The proposals include:

  • Allow victims of family and domestic violence to gain early access to their superannuation up to a total of $10,000 over a 24 month period.
  • Extending compassionate grounds to dental treatment for a life-threatening condition or acute and chronic pain.
  • Compassionate grounds also be extended to permit early access to superannuation for the purchase of disability aids and modified vehicles on the basis of certification from a medical practitioner.
  • Allow individuals to be eligible for severe financial hardship early release if they have received Commonwealth income support payments for 26 cumulative weeks out of 40 weeks (rather than 26 consecutive weeks) and meet the living expenses test.
  • Multiple releases being permitted on severe financial hardship grounds rather than a single release per 12 month period. The maximum amount released will continue at $10,000 however will apply to a 24 month period rather than each 12 months under current law.

This paper also seeks feedback on changes to strengthen the integrity of current arrangements and ensure that superannuation is accessed as a last resort in case of hardship as well as changes to the administration of the rules governing early release on compassionate and financial hardship grounds.

Submissions on this consultation paper are due by 15 February 2019.

Further information

Treasury, Review of the early release of superannuation benefits, 21 November 2018

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