At what age can you access your super? What does your preservation age have to do with this? 

Your Preservation Age

Preservation age is highly relevant to anybody born on 30 June 1964 or earlier. And completely irrelevant to anybody born after that. And it is highly relevant while below 60 and completely irrelevant once you hit 60.

Access to Super

Super is meant for your retirement.  And so the legislator has put tight controls on when you can access your super. Before you get access, you must meet a condition of release. 

There are preserved and non-preserved benefits and there are special and general conditions of release.


Most Australians have preserved super benefits. These benefits are preserved until you meet a condition of release. There are various conditions of release, some linked to your preservation age.


Very few Australian have non-preserved benefits. These benefits don’t require a condition of release and hence have nothing to do with your preservation age or age in general.

Special Conditions of Release

Until you meet a general condition of release, the only way to access your super is by meeting a special condition of release. Special conditions of release have nothing to do with your age.

Instead, they apply when the going gets tough and cover incapacity, severe financial hardship, terminal medical conditions and other scenarios requiring compassion.  They also include the First home super saver scheme.

General Conditions of Release

Most Australians access their super after meeting a general condition of release. There are four general conditions of release.

1 – Reaching preservation age and retiring.
2 – Reaching preservation age and not retiring, but starting a TRIS.
3 – Turning 60 and ceasing an employment arrangement.
4 – Turning 65

Once you turn 60, your preservation age is no longer relevant.

Perservation Age

Preservation age is the minimum age at which you can access your super if you retire or start a TRIS. Before that only a special condition of release can help you.

It is 55 if born in June 1960 or earlier, and 60 if born in July 1964 or later with a staged transition if born between these dates.

Pension Age

Preservation age is not pension age. They are two different things. Preservation age is about accessing your super. Pension age is about qualifying for the age pension.

Pension age is the age that you first become eligible to claim the age pension. It is 67 if born in 1957 or later and 65 years if born in June 1952 or earlier with a staged transition of 6 months increments for anybody born in between these dates. 

The Gap

You can access your super well before you can qualify for the age pension. If born in 1964 or later, there is a gap of 7 years between the preservation age of 60 and the pension age of 67.

So in the worst case scenario your super just has to cover this gap, before you can qualify for the age pension.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us. There might be a simple answer to your query.



Age Pension

Retirement Age

Super by Age


Disclaimer: numba does not provide specific financial or tax advice in this article. All information on this website is of a general nature only. It might no longer be up to date or correct. You should contact us directly or seek other accredited tax advice when considering whether the information is suitable to your circumstances.


Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Last Updated on 14 March 2020