Can you access your Super Fund for Weight Loss Surgery?

Can you access your Super Fund for Weight Loss Surgery?

Obesity or morbid obesity can be a life threatening condition. People suffering from obesity can often lose hope when their condition does not respond to exercise or diet, no matter how hard they try. Sometimes, they may feel the only option left is to undergo weight loss surgery, which can cost a small fortune. This leads many people to look at using their hard earned superannuation funds to foot the huge bills.

Weight loss surgery can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000, including the after care package. For those who have insurance, their out-of-pocket expenses may be at the lower end.

Dipping into money reserved for retirement has becoming prevalent in Australia. According to surgeons, more patients are considering this as a way to fund their weight loss surgery. They’d rather use the money for some life-saving weight loss procedures now, rather than not being able to use it at all.

According to the 2010 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report, the amount of those undergoing weight loss surgeries has increased to around 17,000. The number of Aussies resorting to their superannuation to cover these weight loss surgeries has also increased.

In Australia, it is The Department of Human Services who can approve the early release of your superannuation fund. Although superannuation funds are intended for retirement and generally cannot be unlocked until your “preservation age” (generally 55 to 60), they can also be released early under “compassionate grounds” if there are life-threatening health conditions or suffering from chronic pain. The patient’s family medical history will also be taken into consideration.

In order to apply and be approved of the super fund for weight loss surgery, there are two forms to be completed:

1. Application for Early Release of Superannuation for Medical Reasons

2. Medical Practitioner Report for the Early Release of Superannuation

You must have a Doctor’s certificate supported by that doctor’s recommendation or opinion regarding the life threatening health condition. There may be other supporting documents required. Go here for more information.

So whilst getting an early release of your superannuation may certainly be a solution to any money concerns when it comes to getting weight loss surgery or any other cosmetic/plastic surgery, keep in mind it has to be considered a life threatening medical condition for it to be approved. However, in the right circumstances, it can certainly be a life changing option.

Read more information on weight loss surgery