To be able to withdraw benefits from an SMSF, a Member must meet a condition of release. Meeting these conditions (as explained below), means that benefits can be paid under the super laws. Note that the Deed of the SMSF may impose more stringent conditions for release. However, the Deed cannot impose less stringent conditions for release because an SMSF is governed under legislation.
The most common conditions of release for paying benefits are:
- Reach preservation age and retiring: retirement age depends on when you were born, and when the employment plans of those who are younger than 60 are also taken into consideration. Retired Members cannot access preserved benefits until they reach preservation age .
- Transition to retirement (attaining preservation age): Members who are under 65 and have reached preservation age, but remain gainfully employed on a full-time or part-time basis, may access their benefits as a non-commutable income stream.
- Reaching age 65: a Member who is 65 years old may access their benefits anytime without restrictions.
There are also some cases that allow Members early access to preserved benefits:
- Compassionate grounds
- Severe financial hardship
- Terminal medical condition
- Temporary incapacity
- Permanently incapacity
- Temporary residents leaving Australia permanently
- Super death benefits (inheriting super)
- Super less than $200
The ATO recently released a video explaining how a Member can access to their benefits in the SMSF under certain circumstances and what they should do if they meet a condition of release.
SMSF – Conditions of Release
For more info about when you can access your superannuation balance, please view the ATO guidance on Withdrawing your Super. For general guidance on the ATO rules on your SMSF, see our ATO Guidance information page.