What happens to super when a spouse dies?

2 June 2022

When someone close to you passes away there are usually countless things to take care of. This can be overwhelming when you’re dealing with your own grief. That’s why we’ve put together this guide. It explains the entitlements you may be eligible to claim and how to go about it.

Money in super may go to a partner, but not always

Super may be the biggest investment someone ever makes. If they pass away before they’ve had the chance to enjoy their super, their money will go to someone else.
In most cases at Super SA, the member’s spouse (or putative spouse) will receive the member’s death benefit. This is the sum of the member’s Super SA account (or accounts, if they have more than one) and any insured component (subject to eligibility). But this isn’t always the case. If the member nominated a legal personal representative (LPR), their death benefit will be paid to their Estate through their LPR. The money will then be distributed according to their Will.


Nominating a ‘legal personal representative’ should not be confused with ‘nominating beneficiaries’, which is common with other super funds. At Super SA, if you want your death benefit to go to someone other than your spouse, you must nominate a legal personal representative and have a Will in place.

Understanding the death benefit

For most Super SA members, the death benefit is the sum of the member’s super balance and death insurance, if applicable*.

Death insurance benefit:
The amount you receive will depend on the level of insurance cover they had

Deceased member's super balance:
If your partner has accounts with other super funds, you will need to contact them individually.
Death benefit:
The total amount paid out to the spouse and/or putative spouse or Estate. 


If your partner had a Triple S account with Super SA you will be eligible to receive their death benefit as a lump sum. The amount you receive will depend on various factors, including:

  • whether you meet the definition of spouse or putative spouse
  • their level of insurance cover (if applicable)
  • how much super is in their account (or accounts, if there is more than one)
  • how it will be taxed
  • if payable to the Estate, how it is distributed under the Will or statutes.


Want to know more about the death benefit? Get in touch with our Member Services team.


How the death benefit is paid to you

This will depend on which schemes and/or products your partner was invested in and the balance of each account.

For example, if they had an accumulation account (like Triple S or Super SA Select), their death benefit can be paid directly into your bank account, or you may have the option to start an Income Stream account with the proceeds.

Generally, death benefits paid to a spouse are tax-free whereas payments made to an Estate may be subject to tax on distribution. You can find out more in the Reference Guide for that scheme and/or product or ask the Member Services team any questions you have.

If you need help deciding which option is best for you, we recommend that you seek professional financial advice before making any decisions. A financial planner can help you to see where you’re at financially and advise you based on your financial goals.


What you’ll need to do

If you’re submitting a claim for your partner’s death benefit, these steps will help you.

SSA1402_Icon1.pngGather documents

We will need some paperwork from you to start the process. We generally ask for original or certified copies of the following:

  1. the death certificate
  2. your marriage certificate or registered relationship certificate.
  3. proof of your identity
  4. a current bank statement that has your full name on the account, BSB and account number.

Complete forms

If your partner had more than one account with Super SA, you will need to complete an application form for each account.

If you’re in a de facto relationship, we’ll ask you to complete the Putative Spouse Statutory Declaration and supply any supporting documentation.

If you’re unsure, we can let you know which forms you’ll need to complete.


Submit paperwork

You can choose the option that suits you best:

  • visit our Member Centre at 151 Pirie Street, Adelaide.

We recommend this option if you’re supplying original copies. We also recommend you book an appointment to save time in case of long queues.



Contact us as soon as you can. We can help you through the steps.
The superannuation schemes administered by Super SA are exempt public sector superannuation schemes and are not regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). Super SA is not required to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence to provide general advice about a Super SA product. The information in this publication is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. Super SA recommends that before making any decisions about its products you consider the appropriateness of this information in the context of your own objectives, financial situation, and needs, read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), and seek financial advice from a licensed financial adviser in relation to your financial position and requirements.