While the issue of lost super has gradually decreased over recent years, it’s still an ongoing and widespread issue for Australians, with $17.5billion worth of super still waiting to find its way home. By way of further diminishing this figure, a new law was introduced in July 2019, to further assist Australians in being reunited with their lost money. In short, super providers are now required to pay inactive low-balance accounts to the ATO.
The ATO will then reciprocally keep track of this and proactively reunite unclaimed super money that they hold for you, into your active super accounts. Generally, superfunds will deem you as a ‘lost member’ if they; haven’t been able to contact you, your account has not received any contributions or rollover amounts in the last five years, and/or if your account was transferred from another fund as a lost member account and no new address has been found.
Who can have unclaimed super, you ask? The ATO is most likely to hold unclaimed super money for members over 65, non-member spouses, or deceased members. Alternatively, they may hold unclaimed super for former temporary residents, small lost member accounts (with a balance of less than $6000), or for lost accounts which have been inactive for a period of five years and have insufficient funds to identify the owner. If you suspect you may have unclaimed funds floating within the super-sphere, be sure to fill out a request search form with the ATO. This will allow you to search their lost member register and unclaimed super money register, for any money that you may have lost.