The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Bill Shorten

Bill Shorten

Minister for Financial Services & Superannuation

14 September 2010 - 1 July 2013

Media Release of 07/07/2011

NO.103

Transfer of the Administration of Early Release of
Superannuation on Compassionate Grounds

Medicare will be responsible for the administration of early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds after new legislation was introduced into Parliament yesterday.

Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten said "Medicare Australia has been managing these claims for almost six months, under delegation from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)."

"It makes sense, given their experience in managing electronic business transactions and greater focus on customer service, to transfer the function permanently."

Currently, APRA is responsible for administering the early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds. However, this function does not fit well with APRA's role as a prudential regulator, and has been undertaken by Medicare Australia under delegation.

The Government considers this function would be administered more cost‑effectively following formal transfer to an agency which has an efficient customer support infrastructure.

While the purpose of superannuation is to provide benefits for members on retirement on reaching preservation age, a member's preserved superannuation benefits may be released before preservation age in some strictly limited circumstances.

Over $122 million was released in compassionate payments in the 2010/11 financial year, with an average amount of $11,316.00.

These circumstances include compassionate grounds release, which covers expenses in respect of medical treatment, medical transport, modifications necessary for the family home or motor vehicle due to severe disability, palliative care and funeral expenses. Funds may also be released to prevent the foreclosure of a mortgage or exercise of a power of sale over the member's principal place of residence.

The criteria for early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds will remain the same.

"There is significant potential to streamline the program with the ultimate beneficiaries from this transfer being those superannuation fund members experiencing undue hardship because of their personal circumstances," Mr Shorten said.

To apply for early release, applicants can call 1300 13 10 60 or visit http://www.apra.gov.au/Superannuation/Early-Release-of-Superannuation-Benefits.cfm.

7 July 2011


Early Release of Superannuation Benefits on Compassionate Grounds

The limited circumstances for the release of benefits on compassionate grounds cover expenses in respect of:

  • medical treatment or medical transport for the member or a dependant;
  • modifications necessary for the family home or motor vehicle due to severe disability;
  • palliative care expenses for the member or a dependant; or
  • funeral expenses for a dependant of the member; or
  • preventing foreclosure of a mortgage or exercise of a power of sale over the member's principal place of residence.

Benefits can also be released to meet expenses in other cases where the release is consistent with one of these grounds.

Consumer Contact Details

The formal transfer of the function will commence on a single day to be fixed by Proclamation. Until this time the function will continue to be performed by Medicare under delegation from APRA.

Consumer contact details for applicants will remain the same. To apply for early release, applicants can call 1300 13 10 60 or visit http://www.apra.gov.au/Superannuation/Early-Release-of-Superannuation-Benefits.cfm.