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Compassionate release of super for fertility treatment

03 Oct 2023 5 min read

In Australia, one in six couples experience difficulties falling pregnant. Medical conditions and other factors can cause fertility issues.1 For some women, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) – assisted reproductive technology - may be an option.

Estimates from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) indicate that around 4.9% of all women who gave birth in Australia in 2019 received some form of assistive reproductive treatment.2

If you are considering accessing IVF treatment due to a medical condition or illness, you may be eligible for early release of super to help cover the costs. This is known as release of super on compassionate grounds.

Fertility and medical conditions

IVF Australia outlines some of the health reasons a woman may experience infertility, including:

Tubal disease or problems with the fallopian tubes

Tubal factors include damage to or obstruction of the Fallopian tubes, usually related to previous pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or pelvic or tubal surgery.3

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common disease where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows outside it in other parts of the body. It affects 1 in 9 women, girls, and those assigned female at birth*.4

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects about one in 10 women.5

Fibroids

Fibroids are benign lumps of tissue which grow in the muscular part of the uterus.6 The only two situations where fibroids interfere with fertility are:

  • Where the fibroid is very large, distorting the lining of the uterus
  • Where the fibroid is located inside the uterus itself (called a submucosal fibroid).
Salpingitis (Pelvic inflammatory disease)

Salpingitis is inflammation of the fallopian tubes caused by bacterial infection.7

Eligibility for compassionate release of super

There are very limited circumstances when you can access your superannuation before retirement age, but in some cases, you may be able to on compassionate grounds.

Compassionate grounds include needing money to pay for medical treatment or a medical procedure. However, accessing your super for fertility treatment is not a guaranteed option.

How to apply for compassionate release of super

All applications for compassionate release of superannuation and approvals happen through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Applications can be submitted through myGov or via a paper form on request.

For an applicant to be approved to access their super early, they must meet all the conditions set out in the regulations.

You must:

  • not have paid for your expenses yet (you can't access your super early to offset what you've already spent)
  • be unable to afford part or all of the expense without accessing your super (i.e. you're not in a position to get a loan, use your savings, or sell your assets)
  • be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand
  • provide all the required supporting evidence of your unpaid expense (e.g. invoices and quotes detailing specific bills and family living expenses).

Note that there are different regulations surrounding early access to super between the states and territories in some cases based on the type of fund you are in. This does not apply to NGS. A Super Specialist may help you determine how you can gain early access to your super based on your location.

How long does compassionate release of super take?

The ATO will assess your eligibility in accordance with the limited grounds of release for compassionate release of super. This can take up to 14 days (28 days for paper applications).8

Is it a good idea to withdraw your super early?

Everyone’s situation is different, and it’s always best to speak with a financial specialist before making any decisions.

It’s important to be aware that withdrawing your super early may:

  • incur additional fees
  • affect your tax
  • impact your retirement

Accessing your super early may seem like a good idea for the immediate future, but it’s sensible to consider how withdrawing your super now will affect your retirement savings in the longer term.

Get financial guidance with NGS Super

If you would like to explore your options, why not connect with one of our NGS Super Specialists?

Talking with a Super Specialist is free, and they can answer your questions about superannuation, investments, insurance or planning for retirement. They can also help you decide the next steps – including if meeting with an NGS financial planner is right for you.

Our financial planners can create strategies that aim to maximise your financial position and meet your objectives for the future. Financial advice can also involve protecting your lifestyle and assets through personal insurance.

Seeking advice is a way to plan for your future, help to mitigate the risk and make the most of your saving opportunities. Education is integral to the planning process — it’s important that you feel confident and informed at all times.

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