Early Withdrawal of Superannuation on Compassionate Grounds – In the News

In the news: Early Withdrawal of Superannuation for Surgery

Changes to Processes and Compassionate Grounds Criteria for Early Withdrawal in relation to medical conditions or surgery needs.

Early Withdrawal of Superannuation Processes and Criteria are changing. The Early Access to Superannuation criteria and application processes on both the ATO and the Department of Human Services websites have been updated just last week (around 18th May 2018).

  • These changes indicate that early withdrawal of superannuation is now far more limited than in previous times
  • These changes indicate that life-changing surgeries on medical grounds, such as breast reduction or corrective rhinoplasty or post-traumatic reconstructive surgeries, may no longer meet Government criteria to apply for early superannuation withdrawal on compassionate medical grounds.
  • However, individuals with terminal medical conditions may apply for early superannuation release.
  • There appears to be some conflicting information across various websites, but an ATO web page updated on 21 May 2018 suggests that some medical procedures might be eligible for early release of Super on compassionate grounds. Please note this amount is considered taxable upon released.
  • There are other limited reasons that people can now apply for early access to their Superannuation savings.

History of Recent Policy Changes to Early Release of Superannuation (Department of Human Services “the DHS”  and the Australian Tax Office “the ATO”)

superannuation-early-withdrawal-changes-ato Criteria changes for compassionate medical grounds and early withdrawal applications for Superannuation in Australia - 2018 May.

The May 2018 changes to Superannuation rules, fees and guidelines, including restrictive early withdrawal criteria for compassionate grounds such as medical conditions, relate to the release of the current Government’s 2018 Budget.

Read more about the 2018 Budget and policy changes to Superannuation in the Financial Review article.

Superannuation in the News: Early Withdrawal Criteria Changes

Terminal Medical Conditions may meet early withdrawal of Super application criteria – but other non-terminal conditions may NO LONGER meet eligibility criteria. It isn’t clear from the websites, so you’re best to check directly with the agencies (Department of Human Services or the ATO).

This information is still being collated and government websites are being updated over recent weeks, which we expect to see more releases in the next few months.

However, from what news articles about changes to superannuation rules and guidelines suggest it does appear there are new strict limits on what constitutes compassionate medical grounds for early release of Superannuation in Australia, effective May 2018.

Please contact the ATO or the Department of Human Services directly for details.

In the news – links to articles on Early Release of Superannuation Changes in Australia after the 2018 Budget by the current Government


In this blog, however, we will provide some recent links to Changes to Superannuation rules and Early Withdrawal application processes and criteria for early Super release, currently featuring in the news.

Send an enquiry form to be kept up to date about articles in relation to early release of Superannuation in relation to medical conditions on compassionate grounds.

This list won’t be all inclusive of articles in the news about superannuation withdrawal changes and tax changes to early release of funds.

However, but we will aim to include some helpful and informative links to recent news stories relating to the 2018 Budget changes.


That’s because we often see patients who need plastic or reconstructive surgery they are not currently able to afford, for conditions that have detrimental impacts on their daily activities, their physical health, emotional health and well being.

Example: Skin reduction surgery after weight loss. Obesity is a deadly and healthcare cost intensive medical condition on the rise in Australia.  But losing weight leaves most people with excess skin folds. These skin folds present as a deformity to natural body contours. In terms of daily impacts of post weight loss skin redundancy, Weight loss surgery patients who end up with excess folds of skin report they often feel disfigured, which causes psychological and social distress and can impact interpersonal relationships. They are also restricted in terms of being able to exercise, swim or take fitness classes, and they may be unable to manage or treat recurrent skin infections, which could become systemic.

Weight loss surgery and skin reduction after losing weight may be eligible for early super release based on compassionate medical grounds, but it’s not guaranteed and recent changes may have an impact on patient’s being able to access necessary funds to reduce excess skin folds after they’ve lost the excess weight.

superfunds for body contouring after weight loss bariartic surgery

In the past, as of 2011 until just recently, Early Withdrawal of Superannuation application processes were via the Department of Human Services (formerly the Department of Health and Ageing).

2018 Update: Superannuation rules and early withdrawal application processes have recently changed.

Read more about Early Withdrawal of Superannuation processes and application criteria on the ATO website or at the Department of Human Services website (DHS).

This meant you could apply to the Department of Human Services for permission to request your Superfund to release some of your Superannuation early, for important medical or surgery procedures.

For example, in the past, if you had lost significant weight or suffered from excess, draping skin after obesity, or if you suffered from recurrent skin infections, back pain and neck pain due to having very heavy, large breasts that were in need of a life changing breast reduction procedure, sometimes you could request early withdrawal of your Australian Superannuation.  The criteria for compassionate medical reasons for early withdrawal of your Superfund could help patients who needed life-changing plastic surgery procedures they couldn’t afford, but which they would suffer without. Another surgery that might have met prior criteria for early withdrawal of superannuation on medical grounds or compassionate grounds was weight loss surgery, such as the gastric sleeve procedure.

Changes to the rules and application process for early access of Superannuation – early withdrawal on compassionate grounds for medical procedures including surgery.

In mid-2018, the Australian Government announced significant changes to Superannuation early withdrawal criteria and request and approval processes.

In this blog, we are providing you with related article links here as an update and follow-up to the blog information once published in the blog “Early Withdrawal of Superannuation for Surgery – In the news.”

Links to articles about 2018 Budget related changes to Superannuation including early release criteria restrictions.

From the Australian Department of Human Services – early release criteria and eligibility:

From the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO’s) web pages about compassionate grounds criteria for early release of Superannuation including for medical conditions:

How to apply with DHS for early access to your Superannuation

Grounds for early access to your Super – updated DHS page (May 2018)

All recent articles and links on Superannuation policy changes, listed above, were accessed online on 28 May 2018 and may change. These primarily relate to early release of Super based on compassionate medical grounds.

Send us an enquiry form to join our monthly e-newsletter and we’ll aim to keep you updated.

Current Brief about Early Super Access on Compassionate Medical Grounds

At this stage, government sites are being updated to reflect the changes to Superannuation policies stemming from the 2018 Budget.

Terminal medical conditions appear eligible for early release of Superfunds based on compassionate grounds.

However, it remains less clear if early withdrawal of super funds will be available to patients for non-terminal patients who seek medical or surgical procedures, although the ATO site indicates some medical conditions might meet early release criteria.

Other government web pages indicate early release of Super is primarily likely to be restricted to individuals who have been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition.

Are you wanting to know if you can gain early access to your Superannuation on compassionate medical grounds?

Read the helpful article links above.

Get in touch with us and we’ll aim to keep you updated on Superannuation Policy Changes In The News.

Visit our Plastic Surgery Guides pages if you need more information on Plastic Surgery for Rhinoplasty due to a traumatic injury, post-pregnancy abdominal damage, or post-weight loss surgery body contouring and skin reduction. Or phone us on (03) 8849 1444 for information.



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