Are you considering surgery but don’t have savings or access to medical financing? Or perhaps you’ve heard of other patients gaining access to their super to pay for surgery?
In this article our Practice Manager Jessica explains the current rules governing superannuation and plastic surgery.
Essentially superannuation is accessible when there is a serious medical condition and the patient has no other means to fund the surgery. Patients who have made successful claims include those requiring breast reductions, tummy tucks and lifts post weight loss surgery, and removal of implants for medical need.
The process is currently managed by the Australian Taxation Office and if they approve the release, your super fund will then consider the grounds and release the funds if appropriate under the rules of your fund.
Accessing your superannuation is a serious process given it will impact your retirement savings. For that reason, we encourage prospective patients to seek financial advice before going down this path.
What is the ATO looking for?
Superannuation can be released on compassionate grounds, but be warned it is challenging. The current criteria are outlined in the ATO website. They include:
- You need surgery for a chronic or acute medical condition
- You have no other means to pay for the surgery
- The surgery is unpaid (ie, you must apply before the surgery)
- The claim is for you or a dependent (i.e. spouse or child – so we have seen spouses access their husband or wife’s super depending on their circumstances).
- The surgery is not readily available through the public system.
What you will need
- Review the process on the ATO website
- Before you submit an application to the ATO we recommend you ask if your superfund will grant you access to your super under compassionate grounds. If your fund does not permit early release you may be able to transfer your super to a different fund that allows for early release on compassionate grounds.
- Review our website to understand the procedure you are interested in and the costs involved. Then make an appointment with Dr Moncrieff.
- Bring along a referral from your GP to support your condition.
- After your initial consultation, you will need to gather the following paperwork:
- Surgery quote,
- Early release super form filled out by your GP, and
- Early release super form filled out by us (note: we charge a $100 administration fee).
- The forms above can be accessed on the ATO website here.
Submitting your application
Once you have gathered and completed your supporting documents, submit your application on the ATO section of the MyGov website – linked from the ATO website here (you will need to link your ATO details to the MyGov site if you have not done this previously). We have put a screen shot of the MyGov website below so you can see where the application sits. Essentially, you go to the ATO section on MyGov, then choose ‘Super”, then “Manage”, then “Compassionate release of super”.
Please note the application process at the ATO can take up to six weeks, so we recommend you submit your application after your consultation but prior to booking your surgery date to avoid any setbacks. Please keep in mind that your full surgical fees will be due four weeks prior to your scheduled procedure.
How tax applies
Yes, you will be taxed, and at this point, tax is taken out when the funds are released to you. Any sum taken out of your superfund will be taxed as it will count towards assessable income. If you are under 60 years old, this will generally be taxed between 17% and 22%. If you are over 60 years old, you may not be taxed. You should consider financial advice about this option for funding surgery, especially as money withdrawn will impact your retirement income in the future.
Can I still claim a Medicare rebate?
If you are considering a breast reduction or abdominoplasty and meet Medicare’s criteria for these item numbers, the following rebates may apply:
- Breast reduction: the rebate itself is around $1,000 with the item number 45523. Note, not all policies will not cover this item number depending on your level of cover. For more details on our fees and the criteria Medicare use to determine if you can have a rebate, visit our breast reduction page.
- Abdominoplasty: the rebate itself is around $750 with the item number 30177 or 30175. For more details on our fees and the criteria, you can visit our tummy tuck page.
To avoid any nasty surprises we recommend you always check your item numbers with your fund before booking surgery.
Beware rule changes!
Note that this article is current today, but superannuation and tax rules change constantly, so please be aware this information may be superseded at any time.
More information or to book a consultation
Need more information about surgery? To contact our team to make an appointment with Dr Moncrieff, please call 4920 7700 or send us a message via the form below.
Jessica Laing, Practice Manager, Hunter Plastic Surgery
Jessica joined the Hunter Plastic Surgery team in 2010 after being a patient of Dr Moncrieff’s. She has worked very closely with him since then and supports our patients throughout their surgical journey.
She has even won awards for her focus on service including at the 2020 Stevie Global Sales and Customer Service Awards as Young Customer Service Professional of the Year, as the Australasian Practice Manager of the Year at the 2019 MyFaceMyBody Global Awards and at the 2017 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards.