Superannuation rules for over 65s

Finance Journalist · 20 September 2021
Some superannuation rules change once you are over the age of 65. Generally, it’ll be easier to withdraw money from your super fund, but as you approach the end of your 60s it can also get harder to make contributions.

Can I access my super when I am over 65?

You can access your super when you turn 65 years old, regardless of whether you have retired or are still working. You can access your super earlier than this, but you’ll typically need to have reached your preservation age (between 55 and 60 years old depending on when you were born) and retire or start a transition to retirement income stream.

If you are 60 years old or over, super withdrawals may also be tax-free. According to Moneysmart, this usually will be the case if you are withdrawing your super as a super income stream or a lump sum from a taxed super fund. However, you may pay tax if you withdraw from an untaxed super fund, such as a public sector fund.

You’re also currently eligible to access the Age Pension once you are 66 years and six months old (increasing to 67 by mid 2023), provided you meet the income and asset tests and residency rules.

Can I contribute to super if I am over 65?

You can contribute to your super if you are over 65, but there are different rules that apply if you are 67 or older. If you are under 67, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) says your fund can accept all types of super contributions (including personal contributions) regardless of whether you have retired or are still working. If you are 65 or older, you may also be able to make a downsizer contribution to your super from the proceeds of selling your home.

The normal annual contribution caps apply. Concessional contributions (such as compulsory employer contributions, salary sacrifice payments and personal contributions you can claim as a tax deduction) are currently capped at $27,500.

Non-concessional contributions (such as personal contributions from your after-tax income and those you cannot claim as a tax deduction) are currently capped at $110,000. However, as the ATO notes, if you are under 67 you may be able to use the bring-forward rule to make non-concessional contributions of up to three times the annual cap – so $330,000.

Can I contribute to super after I am 67?

If you are aged 67 to 74, your super fund can accept compulsory employer contributions and downsizer contributions. However, if you want to make voluntary contributions, the ATO says you will need to meet the work test or work test exemption.

What is the work test?

To meet the work test, the ATO says you must be gainfully employed for at least 40 hours during a consecutive 30-day period. You can be employed or self-employed and you may work full-time or part-time. This is an annual test, which means you only need to meet the test once per financial year.

What is the work test exemption?

If you no longer meet the work test, the work test exemption lets you make voluntary contributions for an additional 12 months after the end of the financial year in which you last met the test. However, your super balance will need to be less than $300,000 at the end of the previous financial year. This is a one-time exemption.

If you satisfy the work test or work test exemption, the standard concessional and non-concessional contributions caps apply. But, if you are 67 years old or over at the start of the financial year, you won’t be able to access the bring-forward rule.

Once you turn 75, you are generally not able to make voluntary contributions to your super (except downsizer contributions). However, no matter what your age is, you will still be able to receive compulsory super contributions from your employer as long as you are 18 years old or over and earn $450 or more (before tax) a month.

How much can I contribute to super after retirement?

After you have retired, you can still contribute to your super up to the age of 67. The normal contributions caps apply and you may be able to use the bring-forward rule.

However, once you are between 67 and 74 years old, you would then need to meet the work test or work test exemption in order to make voluntary contributions.

If you need help with your super, consider contacting your super fund or speaking to a financial adviser.

Cover image source: Artit Wongpradu/

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