Accessing your superannuation for dental treatments


It is possible to use superannuation (super) funds to pay for medical and dental treatments. This option fits into an arrangement with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and is called ‘Compassionate Release of Superannuation’. This program can be a solution for people who would otherwise not be able to afford medical or dental expenses, and who don’t qualify for treatment in the public health system.

Each superannuation fund has their own rules, however, most have an option for early access to pay a lump sum to cover out of pocket expenses for dental treatments for members and even their family members.

For many individuals, being able to access money held in their super fund can mean the difference between receiving early, timely treatment or not.

Criteria need to be met to qualify for the release of super funds

Generally, there needs to be proof that dental care is needed to treat immediate conditions which are causing pain and distress. Where there is a risk of problems becoming more complex, or there is a risk of further complications, paying for treatment with released super funds can be a workable solution.

Dental treatment is included in the category of medical treatment which cannot readily be accessible through the public health system.

Early release requires certification (proof) by either:

  1. Two dental practitioners – one must be a specialist.
  2. A general practitioner (GP) and a dental practitioner or a dental specialist.

Dental treatments covered by the scheme need to be considered necessary:

  • For a life-threatening illness or injury.
  • To alleviate acute or chronic pain.
  • To alleviate an acute or chronic mental illness.

 Eligibility for early release of super funds is dependent on:

  • Not having health insurance or sufficient level of health insurance to cover the required procedure.
  • Not being able to afford the procedure.
  • You or a family member having sufficient superannuation funds.

Can I use my superannuation for dental work?

Applying for early release of superannuation funds may be the only way you may be able to afford major dental work.  This is not a decision to be made lightly and should only be considered once all your other financial options have been explored.

Speak with your superannuation fund to fully understand what the implications may be. If you’re applying for early access to your super on grounds of severe financial hardship, this is not managed by the ATO.

Superannuation balances are intended to assist with living expenses after retirement. If you have not reached your preservation age, generally between 55 – 60, you will need to pay tax on the amount you withdraw.  There could also be payment alternatives which you haven’t considered.

Book an appointment with your dentist today to discuss payment options.