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Early Release Super for Dental Treatment

Accessing your existing funds held in your superannuation fund for your retirement can be done through an application to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). However, early access to superannuation is limited to specific circumstances. If you have unpaid expenses and no other means to pay for them, you may be able to withdraw some of your super on compassionate grounds. The amount you can withdraw is limited to what you reasonably need to meet the unpaid expense.


Compassionate grounds, as defined by the ATO, include

  • Medical treatment, medical expenses, dental expenses and medical transport for you or your dependant (including major dental)

  • Making a payment on a home loan or council rates so you don’t lose your home

  • Modifying your home or vehicle to accommodate your or your dependant’s severe disability

  • Palliative care for you or your dependant

  • Expenses associated with the death, funeral, or burial of your dependant.


It is possible to use your super for dental implants, but the amount you withdraw will be paid and taxed as a normal super lump sum. The tax rate will depend on various factors, including your age and the components of the super lump sum. Your super fund will automatically deduct the tax from your super account. For more detailed information on how tax applies to your super and the super lump sum tax table, you can refer to the ATO.


The eligibility for compassionate release of super for dental is below. The ATO can only approve a release of your super on compassionate grounds if you meet all of the conditions listed below:

Condition 1* – you meet the eligibility requirements of the compassionate ground you’re applying for. The specific eligibility criteria related to dental is Medical (treatment or transport).

Medical treatment – There are two sub-conditions to meet to be eligible:

*Sub Condition 1 – you or your dependant must require medical treatment to treat a life-threatening illness or injury, to alleviate acute or chronic pain OR to alleviate acute or chronic mental illness.

*Sub Condition 2 – the medical treatment you (or your dependant) need is not readily available through the public health system.


Condition 2 – you have not yet paid the expense. The ATO can only approve compassionate release of super to help you with unpaid expenses. If you have already paid the expense using a loan, a credit card, or other means, you do not meet the eligibility requirements.


Condition 3 – you can’t afford to pay part or all the expenses without accessing your super. That is, you can’t pay the expense by getting a loan, using your savings, or selling shares/investments/assets.


Condition 4 – you are or have been a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand.


Condition 5* – you provide all required supporting clinical evidence and financial evidence. If your application doesn’t include all supporting evidence, there may be delays in assessing it or it may not be approved.


*Financial Evidence: To assess your application, the ATO will also need to see the unpaid expenses that show the amounts you’re seeking to release from your super account. This can include an itemised quote or an unpaid invoice that shows the amount and a description of each component. You will need to provide a treatment plan to show how those unpaid expenses are connected to the medical treatment you submit in your application.


*Clinical Evidence: You will need to provide two (2) written medical reports to validate the treatment plan, connecting those unpaid expenses. One from a Medical or Dental Specialist and another from a Dentist or Medical Practitioner.


The registered medical specialist must be specialised in the area in which they are giving their opinion, such as our Specialist Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr. Duncan Campbell. The medical reports must be completed, signed and dated less than six months before you submit your application.

Should I Access My Super for Dental Work?

Early Release Superannuation is an option for patients requiring major dental treatment. However, accessing your superannuation prematurely can have implications on your future retirement savings. We advise investigating all your dental payment options before deciding.


We recommend discussing your dental treatment options with your Health Insurance provider and trusted financial advisor. You can also schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an Toowoomba Dental Dentist and Treatment Coordinator to learn more about your options and how your treatment can be tailored to your needs.

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