Preserved and unpreserved
By default, the majority of your super fund will be in the form of preserved benefits; locked away until you meet a condition of release. The simplest way is to have both retired and reached the preservation age. This is determined by the year in which you were born, and is slowly climbing towards 60 for the entire population.
Unrestricted non-preserved benefits then, are not locked away, but are readily accessible. They are relatively rare, and you are most likely to have some as a result of preserved benefits transitioning into non-preserved benefits. If you have met a condition of release, like retiring after the preservation age, then any super benefits you choose not to withdraw from your fund will become unrestricted non-preserved benefits. Because you have already satisfied the condition of the benefits release, you shouldn’t need to so again and can instead withdraw the money at your leisure.
Unlocking your benefits
Other ways your preserved benefits can become unrestricted and non-preserved include:
- Reaching age 65
- Becoming permanently incapacitated
- Suffering from a terminal condition and are expected to die in two years
You can also have unrestricted non-preserved benefits for a couple of other sources. These can include:
- Investment earning from other unrestricted non-preserved benefits
- Roll-overs of unrestricted non-preserved benefits from another fund
- Have been a member of a super fund prior to July 1999 and made salary-sacrifice contributions
- Have employment termination payments that were rolled into a super fund prior to July 2004
While the rules governing if your benefits are preserved or not can seem complicated, finding out if you have any unrestricted non-preserved benefits is relatively simple. Just check your latest super fund member statement, and any applicable benefits will be clearly listed as such.
To find out more about how super works, check out our super page where you can also compare super funds.
Compare super funds with Canstar
If you’re considering outstanding value superannuation funds, check out the the table below which displays a snapshot of 5-Star superannuation funds on Canstar for Australians aged 30-39 with a super balance of $55k – $100k, sorted by provider name (alphabetically). Use Canstar’s superannuation comparison selector for a wider selection of super funds based on your individual circumstances.