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Types of super

July 16 2024

Not all super funds are the same. You may be part of either an accumulation-style and/or a defined benefit fund.

What is super?

Think of your super like a piggy bank. It's an account that has money in it for later, but you can't transact with it like a bank account. The purpose of a super account is to make sure you have some funds available to you when you stop working and no longer have an employment income.

You can only access the fund in your 'piggy bank' after meeting certain requirements, such as reaching the preservation age, retiring, or becoming disabled. More specific information about how and when you can access your super can be found here.

How can super affect my retirement lifestyle?

Have you thought about what you'd like to do when you retire? Are you planning to travel? Spend time with your grandchildren? Dine out every day with your partner or spouse?

If you aren't working you are bound to have an abundance of time to do those things. But have you considered where the money will come from? You won't be getting paid from your employer anymore, and you will still have everyday expenses to meet such as groceries, medical, electricity bills, fuel - you may even still have a mortgage to pay off.

The Australian Government Age Pension (Centrelink) may not be enough to cover your needs, especially if you'd like to live a comfortable retirement.

Life expectancies are also increasing, and rather than needing to be self-funded for just a few short years, people are finding that they can be retired for decades - with no employment income and often increasing living expenses due to failing health.

Super can help to take the pressure off. If you start early and make some good choices, super can also mean the difference between a retirement where you whittle away all of your savings before relying on family and the Australian Government Age Pension, or a comfortable retirement where you can leave something behind for your loved ones.

Are there different types of super?

There are essentially two different types of funds you may have here at ESSSuper. An accumulation fund and a defined benefit fund. This table compares the two:

  Accumulation Defined Benefit
Which ESSSuper funds are accumulation and which are defined benefit?
  • Accumulation Plan
  • Spouse Account
  • Retirement Income Stream and Working Income Stream
  • Beneficiary Account


  • ESSS Defined Benefit Fund
  • Revised Scheme
  • New Scheme
  • Transport Scheme
  • SERB Scheme


Who can contribute to which account? All of our accumulation funds are open to all members and their spouses.

Check out the Accumulation Plan page for more details.
ESSS Defined Benefit Fund is open to operational employees (and previously operational current employees) of several of Victoria's Emergency Services.

The Revised Scheme, New Scheme, Transport Scheme and SERB Scheme are all closed to new members.
How is my benefit calculated? Contributions are added to your account which are impacted by investment returns, fees and insurance premiums.

Check out the Accumulation Plan page for more details.
A complex calculation using your: Salary, period of membership, age, contribution rates during membership and other factors depending on the rules of the fund.

Find out more information by selecting the option applicable to you on our Funds page.
Associated insurance Basic default insurance.

A range of insurance options for purchase within this plan.

For more information see Insurance and Super.
Death, TTD and TPD entitlements (in accordance with the rules of the fund).

Ability to purchase additional cover through the Accumulation Plan.

For more information see Insurance and Super.
Investment choice Yes No
Returns Returns affected by the market.

Find out more in our Investments section.
Generally not impacted by negative returns.
Extra contributions Able to accept all types of extra contributions. For more detail on extra contribution types, please see the Grow my super page. We are unable to accept certain types of extra contributions to this account due to legislative restrictions, but you are able to create and contribute extra to an ESSSuper Accumulation Plan.

You may also choose to increase your contribution rate (depending on the rules of your fund), but you'll need to find out more here first.

For more detail on extra contribution types, please see the Grow my super page.

Eligible members may be part of both an accumulation fund and a defined benefit fund. Not sure which fund you are in, or which you are eligible for? You can find out more about each of the funds in the Our Funds section, or you can check out the PDS or handbook applicable to your fund.


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