Severe financial hardship can strike anyone at anytime, divorce is a good one for that.
A option for people who have a superannuation fund, they can access their money before 55 under the below conditions.....hope this is of some help.
Early access may be possible under the “severe financial hardship” rules in the Superannuation Industry Supervision (SIS) Act. The trustee of the superannuation fund administers the release of benefits in accordance with these rules. In addition, early release is also subject to the governing rules of the superannuation fund, which in some cases may prevent release even if hardship is established.
The trustee of the superannuation fund makes all early release decisions. Centrelink’s role in this process is to provide a statement/letter confirming the period the person has been in receipt of income support.
There are two options under which early release can occur.
Option 1: Based on an applicant:
• being in receipt of an income support payment at the time of the request
• having been in continuous receipt of an income support payment for the last 26 weeks, and
• satisfying the trustee that they are unable to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses.
If the person satisfies all of the above conditions, the trustee may, in any twelve-month period, release one lump sum payment. The lump sum payment is to be no more than a gross amount of $10 000 and no less than $1000 (or the balance of your benefit if it is less than $1000).
Option 2: if the person is aged 55 years and 39 weeks or more, an alternative, optional objective test of severe financial hardship may be applied.
The person must:
• have received a Commonwealth income support payment for a cumulative period of 39 weeks after reaching age 55, and
• not be gainfully employed on a full time or part time basis on the date of their application to the trustee/RSA provider.
The trustee/RSA provider may release the person’s entire benefit if they satisfy this test.