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Accessing your superannuation

Australians are required to meet a condition of release under superannuation law before they are allowed to cash preserved benefits, restricted non-preserved benefits or access any of their super.

Some conditions of release restrict the form of the benefit or the amount of benefit that can be paid. These are known as ‘cashing restrictions’.

The most common conditions of release for paying benefits are that the member:

  • has reached their preservation age and retires

  • has reached their preservation age and begins a transition-to-retirement income stream

  • ceases an employment arrangement on or after the age of 60

  • is 65 years of age (even if they haven’t retired)

  • has died

Retirement is a condition of release however, depending on a person’s age, they must have stopped working, intend not to work again and have reached their preservation age. Upon the death of a member, their super will be released to their beneficiaries.

Less common conditions of release can apply in particular circumstances. Specific rules apply to the payment of these benefits. In special circumstances at least part of a member’s super benefits can be released before the member has reached preservation age. These are:

  • terminating gainful employment

  • permanent incapacity

  • temporary incapacity

  • severe financial hardship

  • compassionate grounds

  • terminal medical condition

Payments of benefits to members who have not met a condition of release are not treated as super benefits – instead, they are taxed as ordinary income at the member’s marginal tax rate.

Posted on 27 October '16 by , under Super.

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What to consider when consolidating your super

The ATO reported that 45% of working Australians were not aware that they had multiple super accounts in 2016. Having multiple super accounts is particularly common for individuals who have had more than one job. If this is you, it is important to identify and manage your super accounts because having more than one can be costly as a result of account fees from multiple funds.To combat this, you may want to consolidate your super, which moves all your super into one account. Not only does this save on fees, but it also makes your super easier to manage and keep track of.

Before consolidating your super, it is important to do the following:

Research your funds' policy
Compare your active super accounts so you can make the right choice about which one you should close. Things to assess include:

  • Exit fees
  • Insurance policies
  • Investment options
  • Ongoing service fees
  • Performance of the funds

Check employer contributions
Changing funds may affect how much your employer contributes, as some employers contribute more to certain funds. Check your current accounts to see if changing funds will affect this. Once you have selected a super fund, regardless of whether you choose a new super fund or one of your existing ones, provide your employer with the details they need to pay super into your selected account.

Gather the relevant information
When consolidating your super, you will need to have the following details ready:

  • Your tax file number.
  • Proof of identity. This could include your driver's license, birth certificate or passport.
  • Your fund's superannuation product identification number (SPIN).
  • Your fund's unique superannuation identifier (USI).
  • Details of your previous fund.

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