Generally, superannuation must be “preserved” in the superannuation system until the member has retired from the workforce after reaching preservation age (currently at least age 55). This means that you can only access your super when you retire unless some other defined special event occurs. Retirement (or these special events) are known as conditions of release.
A member of a fund is taken to have satisfied a condition of release if the event specified in the law has occurred. As always, the payment of benefits is also subject to the provisions of the superannuation fund’s governing rules.
Conditions of release, where there are no restrictions on the amount or form in which benefits can be paid include:
attaining age 65, regardless of whether still gainfully employed;
terminal medical condition;
a “lost member” who is found, and the value of whose benefit in the fund, when released, is less than $200; and
termination of gainful employment where the member’s benefits are less than $200.
There are other qualifying conditions of release where limits are placed on amounts that can be taken.
This seemingly simple word has specific meanings in superannuation law. There are age bands which affect when you have “retired”. This means different rules for those reaching preservation age (55 – 59 depending), those over 60, and those over 65.