Early Super

Reporter: David Richardson

A national superannuation disgrace... funds hoarding 1.38 trillion dollars... but if you urgently need some..like cancer sufferer Emma...forget it... and she's not alone.

We're constantly bombarded with messages about the benefits of forced savings for our future...

but what about out now...

Financially and physically slammed by breast cancer...former navy technician and mother of two emma vowell tried to access her super early...

She needed 30-thousand dollars to save her family home...her finances shredded by massive medical bills...

"No-one could justify it enough, even if it said in the paperwork this is a terminal illness without treatment they didn't acknowledge that at all." Said Emma

Four times Emma was knocked back... By apra... The australian prudential regulation authority... The body that oversees insurance companies and superannuation.

Financial advisor and superannuation expert peter switzer, believes superannuation is sacred, but should be available in emergencies..

"Terminal medical conditions, there's severe financial hardship, a compassionate grounds, permanent incapacity, temporary incapacity, termination of employment where the Super is less than $200, temporary visa holder leaving Australia forever, they can get their money totally." Said Peter

With her gall bladder removed... Erin Williams was diagnosed morbidly obese. Superannuation paid for her for lapband surgery.

"I was staring down a barrell of diabetes and other health related problems where I probably wouldn't have been able to use my Super anyway. So it has completely changed my life, I could not have made a better decision." Said Erin

A good decision in the end..

Four years later, Erin has lost and kept off 70 kilograms... She's' now a company director and a model... And she has more super saved as a result.

"Since that time I've made up for it by adding a significant, extra amount of money to my super and I've more than made up that $10,000 since then." Said Erin

$10,000 for weight loss surgery... $30,000 for breast cancer... It's the not-so-super truth about superannuation..

Then there's Ian Hampstead - who just wanted to give his kids a Christmas.

"If you've paid the money in and it's your own money you should have the right to claim that back at any stage without question..." Said Ian

Most agree we need rules so future next eggs aren't wasted- but, the rules need to be consistent.

"In genuine need, if you're going through a journey, it doesn't matter if its a Cancer journey or something where you will be out of work for an extended period of time, that is when it is needed.. that is where the leniancy needs to come in." Said Emma

STORY LINKS:

Early Release of Superannuation on Compassionate Grounds:

www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/individuals/early_release_of_superannuation.htm

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority - Early Release of Superannuation:

www.apra.gov.au/Super/Pages/early-release-of-superannuation-benefits.aspx

Switzer Super Report - Peter Switzer:

www.switzersuperreport.com.au

How do I access my Superannuation early?

www.superguide.com.au/accessing-superannuation/accessing-super-early