The Government has announced changes will be made to make it easier for people with a terminal illness to access their superannuation.
Currently ‘terminal medical condition’ is a condition of release allowing full access to superannuation benefits. However meeting the definition requires two registered medical practitioners, one of which must be a specialist in the relevant area, to certify that the illness or injury is likely to be terminal within a 12 month period.
Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg today said that this would be extended to a 24 month period.
Mr Frydenberg said the current requirements have “proven difficult for some people, including women with secondary breast cancer diagnosis.”
“Understandably, they want access to their money as they may experience significant financial burden associated with treatment costs or want to make the most of their time with their family,” he said.
“While this is a small regulatory amendment, it will make a big difference to the lives of those affected and that is why the Government has decided to act.”
The Government plans for the changes, to be made via regulation, to take effect from 1 July 2015.
This follows from representations to the Government by Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and other organisations.
Christine Nolan, BCNA CEO, said she was “delighted” with the announcement.
“Many of BCNA’s members have expressed their frustration at the complex application process that currently exists and their doctor’s reluctance to sign forms that predict that they will die within twelve months,” said Ms Nolan.
“BCNA has been advocating for changes to the terminal illness provisions for several years and I would like to thank Minister Frydenberg for acting so swiftly once the matter was personally brought to his attention.”
Update: these changes have been registered in the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Terminal Medical Conditions) Regulation 2015.
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