(B) Preserved, Restricted Non-preserved and Unrestricted Non-preserved Benefits

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(B) Preserved, Restricted Non-preserved and Unrestricted Non-preserved Benefits

To put it in simple terms, if you have not retired then your superannuation is most likely a preserved benefit. Then when you retire it becomes an unrestricted non-preserved benefit. However, the result of rules which came into effect on 1 July 1999 is that you could have up to three types of superannuation benefits-a preserved benefit, a restricted non-preserved benefit and an unrestricted non-preserved benefit.

There are various historical reasons why your superannuation may be made up of these three benefit types, however the focus of this webpage is to explain the present rules in relation to these components.

Preserved Benefit

You cannot withdraw any superannuation which is preserved.

If any of your superannuation is a preserved benefit, then it will remain preserved until you meet a condition of release with no cashing restrictions (e.g. permanent retirement after preservation age). All of your superannuation then becomes an unrestricted non-preserved benefit.


  • Any contributions to your superannuation (whether by you or your employer) are preserved and therefore increase your preserved benefit.
  • Any increase in the value of your superannuation (due to investment performance) increases your preserved benefit.
  • If you have not yet retired (met a condition of release), then all of your superannuation is preserved unless, for one reason or another, you have some superannuation which is restricted non-preserved or unrestricted non-preserved. The rest is preserved.

Restricted Non-preserved Benefit

You cannot usually withdraw any superannuation which is restricted non-preserved (see below for more information).

This is the least common type of benefit. When new superannuation rules came into effect on 1 July 1999, you may have ended up with a restricted non-preserved benefit.

  • If you do not have any superannuation which is restricted non-preserved now, then you will never have any.
  • If you do have superannuation which is restricted non-preserved, then the amount of your restricted non-preserved benefit can either stay the same or decrease, but it cannot increase.

As this benefit is non-preserved, you may be able to access this benefit before you reach preservation age. For example, if you stop working for an employer who has contributed to your superannuation fund, then you are able to access your restricted non-preserved benefit.

Otherwise, if you meet a condition of release with no cashing restrictions (e.g. permanent retirement after preservation age), then your restricted non-preserved benefit becomes an unrestricted non-preserved benefit.

Note that this is the same process as for a preserved benefit. In other words, if you meet a condition of release such as permanent retirement after preservation age, then your preserved and restricted non-preserved benefits become an unrestricted non-preserved benefit.

Unrestricted Non-preserved Benefit

You can withdraw any superannuation which is unrestricted non-preserved at any time.

When you meet a condition of release such as permanent retirement after preservation age, all your superannuation becomes an unrestricted non-preserved benefit. In other words, any superannuation which is preserved or restricted non-preserved becomes unrestricted non-preserved.

If you have not met a condition of release (e.g. you may be 53 years old and still working), then it is possible that some of your superannuation is an unrestricted non-preserved benefit. If your superannuation statement shows an unrestricted non-preserved benefit, then this stems from the rules which came into effect on 1 July 1999.

  • If some of your superannuation is unrestricted non-preserved and you have not met a condition of release (e.g. you may be 53 years old and still working), then the unrestricted non-preserved amount can stay the same or decrease, but it cannot increase.
  • The only way your unrestricted non-preserved benefit can increase is if you meet a condition of release. For example, if you turn 55 (the current preservation age) and permanently retire (a condition of release), then all of your superannuation becomes unrestricted non-preserved.