A growing number of Australians are accessing their superannuation savings early to pay for medical procedures and using super for IVF. This can have consequences on retirement plans, and both super funds and the medical industry are cautious about the practise.
According to a report in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) $290 million in super was released in 2016-17 to cover medical costs. This compares with $42 million in 2000-2001.
Federal legislation allows early access to superannuation on compassionate grounds, this includes medical treatment, medical transport, home or vehicle modification and palliative care for terminal illness or injury.
According to the AFR report 15,000 Australians applied for early release on medical grounds in the last financial year. The majority of these claims were for IVF treatment and weight loss procedures.
This has raised concerns about superannuation being used to supplement the health system, and the potential long-term impact on people’s retirement savings.
Australian Medical Association President Dr Michael Gannon said these are highly emotive topics and that, “We don’t want vulnerable patients being taken advantage of [and making financial decisions they might regret in the future.”
We note that the laws regarding early access to super haven’t been changed for 20 years and a review is currently in place. The prevailing view seems to stress that it is important to strike a balance between compassion and protecting retirement savings.
Release My Super clients who wish to access their super early need to meet the conditions outlined by Federal law and submit their application to the ATO. The legislation states that any medical procedures must be for an existing condition that is;
Sometimes the cost of IVF and other fertility treatments can be out of reach for those contemplating treatment, so access to superannuation savings can facilitate the help required for these various treatments that can include:
Release My Super aims to help administer your application to release superannuation savings for medical procedures such as IVF treatment, thereby relieving the financial stress and tension that may occur when undergoing treatment.
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