Will Super pay for Surgery? – Early Release of Superannuation for Surgery

Superannuation for Surgery

Will My Super Pay for Plastic Surgery?

“Can I access my Superannuation for plastic surgery?” This is another question we often get asked here at the Hub. We recently posted an article on what Medicare covers when it comes to surgeries and procedures. Early release of Superannuation for surgery is another option people wonder about when thinking about getting plastic surgery.

The short answer to this question is “yes, in particular circumstances”. However, early release of your superannuation is not easy or simple. There are definitely conditions and each case is approved on an individual basis. Under the government guidelines early release of superannuation can be considered under “Compassionate Grounds – medical treatment”. These particular types of claims are now administrated by the Department of Human Services – they were previously processed by your individual Superannuation Fund. To quote the Department of Human Services website directly:

“You may be eligible for an early release of superannuation for medical treatment or transport expenses if:

  • you or your dependant has a life-threatening illness or injury, acute or chronic pain, or acute or chronic mental illness, and
  • you or your dependant need assistance to meet the costs of medical treatment which is not readily available through the public health system or covered by insurance, or
  • you or your dependant need assistance to meet the costs of transport to access medical treatment, and
  • you do not have the financial capacity to pay for the expenses without accessing your superannuation”

You can make an application for early release of super for surgery through the ATO via your ‘MyGov’ account.

Not all of us have the money lying around to pay for a plastic and reconstructive surgery. For many of us it’s even a daunting task to save the money over a period of time, especially when it’s reconstructive, or a procedure to rectify or help deal with everyday life – for example getting rid of excess skin after a massive weight loss; or rhinoplasty to deal with breathing issues, or even a breast reduction to assist with back problems or chronic pain. Accessing your superannuation to finance your procedure might be an option in some circumstances.

Aside from filling out the appropriate forms and paperwork, you will need to provide two reports – one from a registered medical practitioner, and one from a registered medical specialist qualified in the area of medicine you are looking to have surgery. Any report you provide must be dated not more than 6 months before you submit it.

The most likely procedures to be approved for payment through early release of your super include abdominoplasty, breast reduction, body contouring or skin reduction surgery after massive weight loss.

There is no “list” of surgeries that they do and don’t consider. As with so many other aspects of the Plastic Surgery industry, the growth of this trend in using superannuation to fund these types of surgeries is still outrunning the speed of the government and industry to regulate them. You might have heard reports of cases where someone used their super to fund this and that plastic surgery, but it is a definite grey area.

Each case is treated on an individual basis, but approval of early release depends on your ability to provide all necessary documentation from your doctor and specialist confirming that what you have is life-threatening or absolutely essential to your quality of life. You may also be considered if your situation is causing you chronic mental illness (serious psychological issues), but of course again, this does not apply to everyone.

The main plastic surgery we found that was being financed via early release of super was that as a result of also having had surgery for weight loss in the case of chronic morbid obesity which is considered a life-threatening condition. Keep in mind that you can only apply for early release of your super if the surgery is medically necessary and has an item number from Medicare.

For more information or to download the appropriate forms visit the ATO Early release of Superannuation

* We recommend you consult with your surgeon to identify if they believe you may be eligible to use your Superannuation to fund your surgery.

Further Reading Related to Super for Surgery