14 September, 2021
Can I use my super for my plastic surgery?
This is one of the most common questions patients have when trying to fund their plastic surgery procedure. We chatted to Jessica Laing, Practice Manager at Hunter Plastic Surgery, home to Plastic Surgeon Dr Nicholas Moncrieff, about when you can and when you can’t use your super for your plastic surgery.
Jessica says that early release of your superannuation is usually only granted 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 purposes. Superannuation can be released on compassionate grounds, but be warned – it can be challenging. At the end of the day, the Government wants to make sure you have income in retirement, so they have strict rules about accessing it early.”
Early release of your super for any purpose was previously managed by your individual super fund, however the process is now managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Only if the ATO approve your application will they then pass it on to your super fund who also need to approve the early release. Keep in mind that any super released early will attract taxation – depending on your age and how much you have it can be up to 20 – 30% or even higher in some cases. This is because the money that goes into super is taxed concessionally, as it the earnings while in there. So the government is effectively recovering some of those concessions on the way out.
The first thing you should do is to get a referral from your GP to see a Plastic Surgeon. Jessica says your GP will need to fill out an early release super form for you and you will also need one from your Plastic Surgeon. “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.”
In addition to the two early release super forms you also need a surgery quote from your Plastic Surgeon. Once you have all your forms and supporting documents together you need to submit your application on the ATO section of the MyGov website. Jessica says they recommend patients submit these forms with plenty of time before their surgery is booked. “The application process at the ATO can take 14 days or in many cases longer, so we recommend you submit your application before you book your surgery date to avoid any setbacks.”
You may still be able to apply for a Medicare rebate even if you are applying for early release of your super. Jessica says if you are considering a breast reduction or abdominoplasty and meet Medicare’s criteria for these item numbers, you may still be eligible for a rebate. “For a breast reduction the rebate itself is around $1,000 with the item number 45523. Not all insurance policies will cover this item number and it depends on your level of cover. The rebate for abdominoplasty is from $980 with the item number 30177. We provide more details on our fees and Medicare criteria on our procedure pages.”
For more information on early release of super for plastic surgery visit the ATO website. If you would like to know more about Dr Nicholas Moncrieff or Hunter Plastic Surgery, please visit his Plastic Surgeon Profile Page.