If you have superannuation and/or insurance policies, you may be able to access your benefits or make a claim. You can do this even if you aren’t at retirement age.
Generally, you cannot access your superannuation benefits until you have reached preservation age and retired, or you have reached the age of 65 years. However, you can apply to access your superannuation under specific compassionate grounds, such as
Visit Services Australia for more information on accessing superannuation on compassionate grounds.
Under Australian law, people with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of less than two years can get early access to their lump sum benefits from their superannuation fund tax-free.
You will be required to have two medical specialists involved in your care complete forms that specify your life expectancy as less than two years. This is only an estimate on their behalf. You will not be required to repay the money, and there is no penalty, if you live longer than two years.
There are also no rules on how you can spend the money. You may need it for your medical care, but you can use it however you like; for example, to pay off your mortgage, pay school fees for your children, or take your family on a holiday.
The decision to withdraw superannuation must be done carefully as it could result in losing your insurance benefits attached to your superannuation policy. This includes life insurance and disability insurances. If you receive a Centrelink payment, you should also discuss the impact of this with Centrelink.
Visit Services Australia for information on accessing superannuation.
It was difficult at first. My super fund would not provide accurate information but I got some advice and pushed through the barriers and was finally able to access my super which made a huge difference to my quality of life.
I used my superannuation to pay for a wonderful family holiday. Mentally and physically, it was the best thing we could have done. It is the best medicine. I would love to think that everyone with this disease could do that.
Your superannuation policy may include insurance disability benefits that can cover you if you are no longer able to work.
There are two types of benefits:
There is often a waiting period before these payments commence.
I received a Total and Temporary Disability benefit through my super fund (75% of my normal salary) which supported me during a gradual return to work after I was first diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
Death Benefit payments under superannuation insurance policies can often be accessed by people who are terminally ill when they withdraw their superannuation account balance, rather than after the person has passed away.
If you are unsure what insurance is attached to your policy, you should consider getting independent financial advice. The Cancer Council's Pro Bono Program may also be able to assist you.
You might also like to consider getting independent legal advice from a private company that specialises in life insurance claims, especially if you are having challenges. Although this may be costly, it will help to determine if you have a case to pursue.
Let’s be Upfront about the extra challenges and different needs of LGBTIQ+ people when diagnosed with breast cancer.
Let’s be upfront about LGBTIQ+ communities that are affected by breast cancer.
Let’s be Upfront about navigating a breast cancer diagnosis as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
Let’s be upfront about fear of cancer recurrence.
Let’s be Upfront about men who are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Let’s be Upfront about living in a rural area following a breast cancer diagnosis.
*This article does not provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only.
Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.