SuperTalk Blog

Can I access my super to pay for medical treatment?


Can I access my super to pay for medical treatment?

The public waiting lists for surgeries in Australia are longer than they ever have been. Increasingly, people are attempting to find alternatives and paying for surgeries themselves rather than waiting on public waiting lists. Increasingly, people are making early withdrawals from their super funds to cover the costs of self-funded surgeries.

There are several circumstances in which you can access your super before reaching retirement age, and paying for medical treatment is one of them.

For more detailed information on the criteria to access funds early, you should read our article “Under what circumstances can I access money from my Super fund before retirement age?”

When can I withdraw money from super to pay for medical treatment?

To be eligible to withdraw money from a superannuation fund to pay for medical treatment (medical treatment can be medicine, surgery or psychotherapy), the following conditions must be met:

  1. Your (or your dependant’s) medical treatment is required to:
  • treat a life-threatening illness or injury; or
  • alleviate acute or chronic pain; or
  • alleviate acute or chronic mental illness.
  1. The medical treatment you (or your dependants) need is not readily available through the public health system.

Notably, the medical treatment can be for you or for a dependant like a child or spouse/partner.

If you want to apply to withdraw super to pay for medical expenses, you will need to provide:

  • evidence from your treating doctors supporting that your illness or injury is life-threatening; or
  • detailed information regarding your pain or mental illness.

Generally, you can only withdraw super to pay for treatment by a registered medical practitioner. However, you may be able to withdraw super to pay for treatment by an allied health professional (like a psychologist) if their treatment forms part of the medical treatment certified by a registered medical practitioner.

You can also apply to withdraw super to cover the costs of transport to access medical treatment. It should be noted that for your application to be successful:

  • the medical treatment you are travelling to must meet the conditions we have discussed above; and
  • you must use the most cost-effective and reasonable transport option available.

Implications of withdrawing your super for medical or financial purposes

Before you withdraw your super to pay for medical bills or to cover any other expenses, it is important to consider the potential consequences of making that withdrawal and to get advice.

Seek advice before early withdrawal: FREE advice:  03 9448 8048

Withdrawing money from your super may impact any insurance cover you hold that is linked to your super account. It is possible that you might hold Total and Permanent Disability (TPD), Income Protection or Life Insurance with your super fund, and if you do, your super fund probably deducts insurance premiums from your account regularly to provide you with that cover.

If you were to make a withdrawal from your super to cover your medical or other expenses, it could result in there being insufficient money left in your super account to cover your insurance premiums. This might lead to your TPD, Income Protection or Life Insurance cover being cancelled, which might leave you uninsured should you become ill or injured.

If your insurance cover does lapse because there is not enough money in your account, you might not be able to opt back in again later without making an application and providing some medical information to your fund.

It is also possible that if you make a withdrawal from super, your long-term superannuation investment returns could be impacted. Also, you will likely pay tax on any withdrawal you make, and you should get advice about this, from your accountant or a financial adviser, before withdrawing any funds.

Get advice if considering withdrawing funds from your super

If you’re thinking about making a withdrawal from your superannuation to pay for surgery or other medical treatment or because you are experiencing financial hardship, speak to an independent financial advisor first.

If you want to find out what superannuation-linked insurance you might hold, or if you want to make a TPD, Income Protection or Life Insurance claim, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our office for some free legal advice.

Contacting Berrill & Watson

📞 Melbourne: 03 9448 8048

📞 Brisbane: 07 3013 4300

📞 Anywhere else in Australia:  03 9448 8048

📧 [email protected]

How we charge

We are Australia's best value superannuation/insurance law firm. Other law firms charge nearly double (& sometimes more than double) what we charge. So, if you get a quote from them, or have a cost agreement, ask us what we will charge you.

Share this page...

Get in touch

  [email protected]

or fill out the form below...