Can I pay for Surgery with my Super?

We are often asked if it’s possible for a patient to access superannuation to pay for their plastic surgery? Superannuation is intended for use in retirement to support your financial needs when you are no longer working, but there are certain circumstances where one can access their super before retirement. However, the process can be lengthy and challenging.

It’s important to note that the information is current when writing it, but Super Fund rules and regulations are constantly changing, so you must do your own research.

Early Release of Super can pay for Your Surgery

Dr Hunt often finds many of his patients asking the same question – is it possible access to their superannuation fund to pay for medical procedures? This is a common question in Dr Hunt’s practice and it is possible in differing circumstances. Dr Hunt explains more about paying for surgery with your superannuation and when this could apply to you.

Using Your Superannuation for Medical Procedures

For a surgical procedure that is deemed medically necessary the ATO has allowed patients access to their superannuation funds and draw down the funds to cover the out-of-pocket costs for that procedure.

The process firstly requires a referral from your GP to a specialist. The specialist will then determine whether the procedure is medically necessary or not. If the procedure is deemed not medically necessary then unfortunately you will be unable to use your superannuation for the surgery.

However, if the specialist states that the procedure is necessary on medical grounds then the GP and the specialist will sign an application form. This is submitted by the patient to the ATO for release of their superannuation funds, these funds must be specifically used for the medical procedure’s out-of-pocket cost.

Dr Hunt finds that this process is particularly applicable to patients who are undergoing body contouring surgery following significant weight loss. After a patient has achieved a weight loss of more than 5 BMI points they can be considered for body contouring surgery on medical grounds due to excess skin and the issues associated with that excess skin. If the initial assessment is made by a specialist the SEF form can be submitted for release of funds. The process is relatively straightforward and one that Dr Hunt’s practice is very familiar with. The same process is also applicable for other medically necessary procedures such as a breast reduction or, in some cases, revisional breast surgery.

Dr Hunt would suggest the first (and most important) place to start when considering the release of your superannuation funds is an assessment by a specialist after a referral by your GP. This means you can quickly understand whether the procedure is medical and from there the process of accessing superannuation funds is accessible online.

Eligibility for early release of Superannuation

Early release of super on compassionate grounds is a process managed by the Australian Taxation Office and is subject to strict regulations and requirements. For the ATO to consider the release of your funds you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your surgery must be deemed medically necessary and must not be elective surgery purely for cosmetic reasons. Medically necessary procedures can include –
    • Breast reduction surgery
    • Breast Implant removal for medical reasons
    • Nose Surgery to correct breathing issues
    • Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and excess skin removal surgery after weight loss
    • Bariatric Surgery or Weightloss Surgery
  • You are unable to pay for the surgery due to your current financial situation
  • Release of funds can only be approved for unpaid expenses PRIOR to surgery
  • You are a permanent resident of Australia
  • You provide all of the required documentation

Medical Reports & Evidence required for early release of Super

Before you lodge your application, you must ensure that you have all of the necessary supporting evidence and documentation.

You will need to provide TWO detailed medical reports –

  • One from a registered medical practitioner supporting your condition and health concerns
  • One from a registered medical specialist like Dr Hunt

You will also need to provide an itemised quote for the procedure, which we can provide after your consultation with Dr Hunt.

Applying for early release of Super for Surgery

The first step in the process is to contact your super fund to ensure that they allow the early release of super. Not all super funds do. Once you have confirmed that your fund allows early release for specific procedures, you can then complete the online claim form from the ATO, which you can access via your MyGov account. After the application has been submitted, your eligibility will be assessed. This process can take up to 14 days. If your application is successful, the ATO will advise you via text and a message in your MyGov account. The next step will be for you to contact your super fund to arrange for the release of the money.

Beware of Paying Tax on Early Withdrawal Money

Please be aware, you will have to pay tax on the funds when released, as the amount taken from your super will count towards your income.

It’s best to talk to a qualified tax agent to clarify what this means to you as an individual.

Talk to Dr Hunt about your procedure & plans

If you’re interested in applying for early release of your super to fund a procedure, please be sure you see your GP first to talk over your health concerns and obtain a referral, as this is a crucial part of the process. Then you can book a consult with Dr Hunt so he can assess your individual situation and provide you with the most relevant information based on your personal needs.

PLEASE NOTE: We are in no way encouraging you to access your superannuation early, but we are providing this information as it’s a question we’re frequently asked. We encourage you to seek financial advice from a trusted source before deciding to proceed, as money withdrawn from your super early can impact your retirement income. 

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About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Plastic Surgeon

dr jeremy hunt

Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon performing breastbodyface and nose surgery.

He is a member of FRACS & ASPS and has over 20 years of experience providing cosmetic and plastic surgery in Sydney.

Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is optimal for your body and your lifestyle.

Dr Hunt’s personal, one-on-one service and attention to detail has given thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia the aesthetic results they desire.

Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education

Dr Jeremy A Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgery. He completed a Fellowship at the prestigious University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from some of the world’s very best plastic surgeons.

Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

If plastic surgery is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.