Superannuation is designed to provide you with an income when you stop working, which means you can generally only access it once you reach your preservation age and have permanently retired from the workforce. However, there are some circumstances when you may be allowed to access your superannuation sooner, including financial hardship.
A financial counsellor can help you review your options and help navigate the best solutions, based on your personal circumstances. They are non-judgemental, qualified professionals who provide information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty.
Working in community organisations, their services are free, independent and confidential. Counsellors have extensive knowledge of a range of areas of law and policy, including consumer credit law, debt enforcement practices, bankruptcy, industry hardship policies and government concession frameworks.
You can find a financial counsellor by visiting financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au or by calling the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia.
Financial hardship is defined by government legislation and means that you are “unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses”. An immediate living expense refers to any outstanding debts and bills that are no more than three months old.
By law, Mercer Super can only release one payment in any 12 month period up to a maximum of $10,000 (before tax is deducted). The minimum amount is normally $1,000, or your total benefit if it is less than $1,000 (before tax is deducted).
You may be eligible for the early release of your superannuation under financial hardship if you meet either of the following:
1. Have been receiving an eligible Commonwealth income support payment (from either Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs) for a continuous period of 26 weeks.
2. You have reached your preservation age (56-60 years old) plus 39 weeks, you are not gainfully employed and have been in receipt of a Commonwealth income support payment for a period of no less than 39 cumulative weeks since reaching your preservation age. You may withdraw part or all of your superannuation.
We recommend you contact Centrelink or the Department of Veterans Affairs as soon as possible to:
The Q230 and Q251 letters are only valid for 21 days and must be received by us prior to that date.
Once you have this information, download the below Mercer Financial Hardship factsheet and application form, complete the form and return it to:
Mercer Super Trust
GPO BOX 4303
Melbourne VIC 3001
If you have any questions or need assistance in completing the application form, please call us on 1800 682 525. Alternatively, if you are meeting with a financial counsellor we recommend taking the application form to your appointment so they can provide advice and guidance.
The below factsheet and application form provides a detailed outline of eligibility to access your super due to financial hardship. The form includes important information about what documentation you need to support your application.
Financial Counselling Australia 1800 007 007: Financial counsellors provide a free, independent and confidential service www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au
1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732: A free 24 hour, sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line - for anyone who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault www.1800respect.org.au
Lifeline (24 hours) 13 11 14: Providing anyone experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services www.lifeline.org.au
Kids Help Line (24 Hours) 1800 551 800: assists people aged up to 25 who are exposed to violence as adults as well as staff who have concerns about the safety of their children www.kidshelp.com.au
Relationships Australia 1300 364 277: A leading provider of relationship support services for individuals, families and communities www.relationships.com.au
Mens Line (24 hours) 1300 789 978: Counselling and resources for men in crisis www.mensline.org.au
Mens Referral Service (24 hours) 1300 766 491: telephone counselling for men dealing with family violence matters www.ntvmrs.org.au