When you can access your super

Your super is designed to help you save for retirement and has tax benefits, so there are rules about when you can access the money.

To get your super, you need to have reached what’s known as your Commonwealth preservation age.

Your Commonwealth preservation age is based on when you were born and is outlined in the table below:

Commonwealth preservation age
When you were born When you can access your super

Born before 1 July 1960


1 July 1960 - 30 June 1961


1 July 1961 - 30 June 1962


1 July 1962 - 30 June 1963


1 July 1963 - 30 June 1964


After 30 June 1964


You can get your super when:

  • You reach your preservation age and permanently retire
  • You reach your preservation age and start a transition to retirement strategy, where you continue to work and access some of your super
  • You reach age 60 and cease your current employment arrangement
  • You reach age 65

These are known as ‘conditions of release.’

If you’re a Gold State Super member, you can access your super once you turn 551 and you retire from the WA public sector. You can only access your super before your preservation age if you qualify for special circumstances, such as severe financial hardship or on compassionate grounds.

Accessing your super before you reach Commonwealth preservation age

You might be able to get your super before you reach preservation age if:

  • You become totally and permanently disabled
  • Your super account holds less than $200 and you no longer work for the employer who contributed to the fund for you
  • You receive approval from us to release your super on financial hardship or compassionate grounds
  • You are diagnosed with a terminal illness by certified medical practitioners or in the event of your death (in which case your super is paid to your estate)
  • You are significantly affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus (see below)

If you would like to know if you’re eligible to access your super early, please contact your Member Services Centre on 13 43 72.

Coronavirus support through super

As part of its COVID-19 support package, the Commonwealth Government allowed people affected by COVID-19 temporary access to up to $10,000 of their super each year for both 2019/20 and 2020/21. These withdrawals were tax free and didn’t affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

As of 1 January 2021 you can no longer apply for COVID-19 temporary early release of super.

Learn more about the Government’s coronavirus support measures.

First Home Super Saver scheme

The First Home Super Saver scheme is a Commonwealth Government initiative announced in the 2017/18 Federal Budget, to help Australians aged 18 years or older save for their first home.

From 1 July 2018, if you meet eligibility requirements, you can apply to the Australian Taxation Office to withdraw voluntary contributions made to your GESB Super account after 1 July 2017 (and the associated earnings on those contributions) to use towards the purchase or construction of your first home2. As West State Super and Gold State Super are constitutionally protected funds, contributions made to these schemes are not eligible for the FHSS scheme.

Learn more about the First Home Super Saver scheme.

Know how your super is taxed

Before you access your super, it’s important to understand the way your super is taxed. This depends on your age, how your benefit is paid, and whether you have a taxed (GESB Super) or untaxed (West State Super and Gold State Super) account.

For details, see how is super taxed or the Tax and super brochure.

1 If you access your benefit before you reach your Commonwealth preservation age you may be liable to pay a higher rate of tax. The Commonwealth preservation age is higher than the age at which you can access your Gold State Super benefit. Please contact your Member Services Centre and review our Tax and super brochure for more information.
2 If you lost ownership of your first home due to financial hardship you may be able to apply to the ATO to use the FHSS scheme to help you purchase or construct a home which is not your first home. See the ATO website for details.

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Page last updated 13 April 2021