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Can you use your Superannuation for Surgery?

Are you considering surgery but do not have savings or access to medical financing? Or perhaps you have heard of other patients gaining access to their super to pay for surgery?

In this article we hope to explain the current rules governing superannuation and surgery and dental.

* Australian clients only

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Essentially superannuation is accessible when there is a serious medical condition and the patient has no other means to fund the surgery. Patients who have made successful claims include those requiring Bariatric surgery, breast reductions, tummy tucks and lifts, post weight loss surgery, dental needs, and removal of implants for medical need.

The process is currently managed by the Australian Taxation Office and if they approve the release, your super fund will then consider the grounds and release the funds if appropriate under the rules of your fund.

Accessing your superannuation is a serious process given it will impact your retirement savings. For that reason, we encourage you to seek financial advice before going down this path.

There are certain criteria to be met if you want early access to your superannuation on compassionate grounds. You might get access if you need the money:

  • for medical treatment or medical transport
  • to treat a life-threatening illness or injury
  • to alleviate acute or chronic pain
  • to alleviate acute or chronic mental illness
  • Flights overseas and hotel bookings for our packages as they are overseas

What is the ATO looking for?

Superannuation can be released on compassionate grounds, but be warned it is challenging. The current criteria are outlined in the ATO website. They include:

  • You need surgery or dental for a chronic or acute medical condition: What do ‘chronic’ and ‘acute’ mean? The word acute means there has been a rapid onset or progress of your pain. And means the treatment you require is urgent. The word chronic means longer (usually at least 3 months duration), and the pain may have been stable or had periods where it has flared up and settled back down.
  • You have no other means to pay for the surgery
  • The surgery is unpaid (ie, you must apply before the surgery)
  • The claim is for you or a dependent (i.e. spouse or child – so we have seen spouses access their husband or wife’s super depending on their circumstances).
  • The surgery is not easily and readily available through the public system.

What you will need

Review the process on the ATO website

Before you apply to the ATO we recommend you ask if your superfund will grant you access to your super under compassionate grounds. If your fund does not permit early release, you may be able to transfer your super to a different fund that allows for early release on compassionate grounds.

Our surgeons and dentists will prepare the documents needed on their behalf for you to submit.

You will then need to make an appointment with a GP and bring the completed documents and they will complete another form and sign it

But we will walk you through this step by step

Submitting your application

Once you have gathered and completed your supporting documents, submit your application on the ATO section of the MyGov website – linked from the ATO website here (you will need to link your ATO details to the MyGov site if you have not done this previously).

Essentially, you go to the ATO section on MyGov, then choose ‘Super”, then “Manage”, then “Compassionate release of super”.

Please note the application process at the ATO can take up to six weeks, so we recommend you submit your application after your assessment but prior to booking your surgery date to avoid any setbacks. Please keep in mind that your full fees will be due four weeks prior to your scheduled procedure.

Do I pay Tax on this amount?

Yes, you will be taxed, and at this point, tax is taken out when the funds are released to you. Any sum taken out of your superfund will be taxed as it will count towards assessable income.

If you are under 60 years old, this will generally be taxed between 17% and 22%.

If you are over 60 years old, you may not be taxed. You should consider financial advice about this option for funding surgery, especially as money withdrawn will impact your retirement income in the future.

What Kind of Procedures Could I Get with My Super Fund?

You can claim early super release for a range of medical conditions.

Unless you are dealing with severe or chronic pain, super will not cover the surgery.

Here are some of the most popular procedures for which you could claim the super fund:

  1. Abdominoplasty and Excess Skin Removal after Major Weight Loss
  2. Bariatric Surgery: Gastric Sleeve and Bypass Surgery
  3. Abdominoplasty after Pregnancy
  4. Breast Implant Revision Surgery
  5. Breast Reduction Surgery to relieve back & neck pain
  6. Breast Surgery after major weight loss
  7. Nose Surgery for breathing problems
  8. Arm Lift after major weight loss
  9. Thigh Lift after major weight loss
  10. Dental: a variety of dental and orthodontic treatments including braces, crowns, general dental, implants, orthodontics, periodontics and many more

A mandatory condition to access super to play for plastic surgery it to deal with acute or chronic pain and/ or discomfort. Procedures performed for aesthetic reasons only do not qualify.

Further Reading and References about Using Super to Fund Your Surgery

ATO Website – Early Release of Super

ATO Website – Release of Super on Compassionate Grounds

Contact us NOW to arrange a surgery or dental assessment and let us know if you would like to achieve your procedures using your Superannuation