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Superannuation is an investment for your future financial security. That means there are rules that restrict when you can access it.

Generally, you can only withdraw super when you reach:

  • your preservation age and permanently retire, or
  • age 60 and leave your employer, or
  • age 65.

Rolling out your super to another fund is not withdrawing your super. If you choose another fund, your savings are still invested in the super environment (i.e. your savings aren't withdrawn).

Special circumstances when you can withdraw your super

There are limited other situations when you can withdraw some or all of your super:

  • If you are eligible for permanent incapacity.
  • If you are terminally ill.
  • If you are suffering severe financial hardship or eligible on specified compassionate grounds.
  • If you change jobs and your super account balance is under $200.
  • If you are a temporary resident permanently leaving Australia.

If you are eligible, you need to complete the relevant form.

Keep reading for more information on each situation.

Retirement and reaching preservation age

Your superannuation benefit can be paid to you when:

  • you retire permanently on or after your preservation age (generally 60—refer to table below)
  • you stop employment on or after age 60
  • you reach age 65 (even if you're still working).

Your super benefit in ADF Super is valued and declared in units. When you withdraw super from ADF Super, you cash in or redeem your units at the applicable daily unit price on the business day your application is processed (which may not be the same day you request to withdraw).

We'll process your withdrawal request and pay your eligible benefit using the unit price applicable to your investment option or mix of options.

Visit the How ADF Super works page for more on how your benefit is valued, including more information about unit prices.

This will be paid as a lump sum payment.

Preservation age

Your preservation age is generally the minimum age you can access your super. It is set by law, and ranges from 55 to 60 depending on your date of birth.


Your date of birth

Preservation age

Before 1 July 1960

55 years

1 July 1960 to 30 June 1961

56 years

1 July 1961 to 30 June 1962

57 years

1 July 1962 to 30 June 1963

58 years

1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964

59 years

After 1 July 1964

60 years


Illness, incapacity and death

Your super benefit becomes payable to you or your family in the following situations:

  • Permanent incapacity: If you can't work due to a medical condition, or you have a terminal medical condition.
  • Death: Your super is paid to your beneficiaries.

Find out more about accessing super for illness, incapacity and death.

All ADF Super members who are serving permanent forces or continuous full-time reservists under the age of 60 are automatically covered by ADF Cover. This includes death and invalidity benefits, which are separate to accumulated ADF Super benefits.

Visit the ADF Cover website to find out more about death and invalidity benefits.

Other ways you can withdraw super

Additional ways you may be able to access your super include:

  • suffering severe financial hardship or being eligible on specified compassionate grounds (see Financial hardship)
  • changing jobs and your account balance is under $200
  • being a temporary resident permanently leaving Australia.

Severe financial hardship or specified compassionate grounds

If you run into financial difficulties, you may be able to access part of your super to help meet immediate financial needs.

For details on eligibility and how to apply, visit the Financial hardship page.

Changing jobs with a balance under $200

If you end your employment with the ADF, you can receive a full lump sum of your preserved benefits if the balance is less than $200 on the date your employment ends.

Next steps: If you have left your job and have less than $200 in super, complete a Withdrawing your super form. Submit the form with the supporting documents so this amount can be paid to you.

Temporary resident permanently leaving Australia

If you were a temporary resident, you can withdraw your super if all of the following apply:

  • You visited and worked in Australia on a temporary visa.
  • Your visa has ceased to be in effect (is expired or has been cancelled).
  • You have left Australia.
  • You are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident of Australia.

If you are a New Zealand citizen leaving Australia permanently, you can transfer your super to a New Zealand KiwiSaver account. Please contact us on 1300 203 439 to discuss additional requirements.

Next steps: If you were a temporary resident who has permanently left Australia, complete a Withdrawing your super form. Submit the form with the supporting documents so this amount can be paid to you. Alternatively, apply for Departing Australia Superannuation Payment using the ATO DASP Online application.

Transferring super

Transferring your super to another fund does not allow you to put that money into your own account. If you choose another fund, your savings are still invested in the super environment (i.e. your savings aren't withdrawn).

Visit the Transferring super page for more information.

Protecting your super and your family

ADF Super members can nominate a binding beneficiary or beneficiaries. Your nominated beneficiary is the person you want to receive your death benefit or act on your behalf in the event of your death.

Nominating a beneficiary is not mandatory, but it can help to provide peace of mind.

Nominating beneficiaries

Nominating a beneficiary helps determine who will receive your super in the event of your death.

To nominate a beneficiary for your ADF Super, complete an ADF Super Beneficiary nomination form. You must use this form to nominate the dependant(s) or legal personal representative you would like your benefit to be paid to if you die.

You can nominate one or more dependants and/or your legal personal representative as your beneficiaries. Dependants include your spouse, your children, or anyone who has an interdependency relationship with you.

Third party authority

You can nominate a third party to access your personal super information. This could include a family member, financial advisor or someone you trust with your information.

Your authorisation will be valid until you revoke it by advising us in writing.

To allow someone to act on your behalf in relation to your superannuation, you can appoint a Power of Attorney. This may be useful if you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to attend to your financial affairs.

Power of Attorney documents are different for each state and territory. Visit the Australian Government website to find the document for your state/territory.

Next steps: To give a third party authority, complete a Third Party Authority form.

Family law and superannuation splitting

Super can be split between two people if a marriage or de facto relationship breaks down. When a valid superannuation splitting order or agreement is received, a new ADF Super account can be created for the non-member spouse. This benefit can be kept with ADF Super, or transferred into another super fund of the non-member spouse’s choice.

The amount cannot be withdrawn unless another condition is met, such as retirement after reaching preservation age.

You can find more information on our Family and beneficiaries page.