Ultimate Guide to Finding Lost Super In Australia Claim Your Superannuation

The ATO (Australian Taxation Office) released new data which shows that the total amount of unclaimed and lost super was reduced in 2017-18 by more than $420 million, but there is still $17.5 billion that has yet to be found.

Read on to learn how you can find your lost super.

Over the past year, more than 530,000 unclaimed, lost, and active accounts that were worth nearly $3.2 billion have been consolidated through the use of myGov.

Starting on 1 July 2019 there was a new law enacted for protecting your superannuation savings – Reuniting Australians with their super. Super providers are now required to pay to the ATO low-balance inactive accounts.

How Did Lost Super Occurr in The First Place?

Under the Keating Labor Government in 1992, the compulsory employer contribution scheme was established due to the retirement problem in Australia.

From 1992, employers were required to make contributions to your Supperanualtion, which was commonly referred to as Superannuation Guarantee Contributions. Unfortunately, it was not thought through carefully enough, and Australians ended up having multiple Super Funds.

That might not appear to be very important, however, it has resulted in Australians losing more than 17,5000,000,000 worth of Superannuation due to lost super funds.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO), 5 years after there being a dormant Super Fund, will be taking hold of accounts and classifying them as “Lost Super.”

What is unclaimed or lost superannuation?

The ATO states that your super fund will be reporting you as a lost member based on one of the situations below:

they have been unable to contact you
they have not received any rollover amounts or contributions for you in the past five years
your account was transferred as a lost member account from another fund and no new address was located

The super fund still holds accounts that are considered to be ‘lost,’ but super also can be categorised as being ‘unclaimed.’ Those types of accounts are transferred to and reported to the ATO. The following kinds of people may have unclaimed super:

  • a super fund member who is at least 65 years old
  • a deceased member
  • a non-member spouse
  • former temporary residents who have unclaimed super funds
  • members who have ‘lost accounts’ with less than $6,000 balances
  • members with ‘lost accounts’ inactive for at least five years that have insufficient records for identifying the account owner

The original contributor is still considered to be the owner of lost and unclaimed super, and it might be easier to claim it than you think.

How does super end up going astray?

The national average tenure for a job is three years and four months, which means that someone graduating from school today could end up having up to 17 jobs over the course of their lifetime. When you consider that it isn’t uncommon for some individuals to open up a new super account whenever they begin a new job, you can potentially end up having many different superannuation accounts.

People can also lose track of some of their super accounts. For instance, they might not update their contact details in their funds whenever they change their name or move house.

Why should I consider having my super consolidated?

A forgotten super equals money – your money – that potentially is being eaten away at by life insurance premiums and administration fees. Having multiple unclaimed super accounts may result in the subtraction of multiple insurance premiums and annual fees. In certain cases, fees may end up being deducted until an idle account runs out of money and is then closed.

How can I find unclaimed or lost superannuation?

In general, there are five steps you can take that might help you locate and consolidate your unclaimed or lost superannuation:

  1. If you have a myGov account already, simply log in and then click on ATO.
  2. Set a myGov account up if you don’t have one already.
  3. Fill in your details, including your name, tax file number, and date of birth
  4. Link your myGov account with the online ATO services to see the details of your super
  5. Click on the ‘Super’ tab. In that section, you can: view all of your super accounts details, including ones you might have forgotten about view all of your super details, including the super that the ATO is holding for you
  6. Consolidate your super into a single main super account.

Or you can call the Lost super search line: Agents and individuals can conduct a super search by calling the automated super search line at 13 28 65.

That will allow you to:

view the details in all of your super accounts, which include any you forgot about or lost
find any super that is being held by the ATO – being held on your behalf whenever the government, your employer or your super fund is unable to find an account to deposit your super to
consolidate your super into one fund

Information That You Will need to have in order to Claim Lost Super:

You should be prepared to furnish the following information if asked:
the details of your super fund – any super fund where there might have been contributions made on your behalf

Unclaimed super

Lost super and unclaimed super are different. ‘Unclaimed super’ is super that can be withdrawn out of your super fund. However, the fund has not been able to contact you. An unclaimed super may include super of the following:

  1. fund members over 65 years old
  2. deceased members
  3. non-member spouses
  4. former temporary residents
  5. fund members who have insoluble lost or small member accounts.

Fill out a paper form

The following form can be downloaded and completed and then sent into to us:

Who might have lost super?

You will be reported as a lost member by your super fund if either:

Your super fund will report you as a lost member if either:

  1. they were unable to contact you
    over the past five years,
  2. they have not received rollover amounts or contributions for you
  3. your account was transferred as a lost member from another fund and no new address could be located

A register is maintained by the ATO of reported lost members. However, your money is still held by the super fund.

Who may have an unclaimed super?

Twice a year super funds are required to pay and report any unclaimed super money to us. The following are unclaimed funds we might hold for you:

unclaimed super money for:

  1. a deceased member
  2. non-member spouse
  3. a member who is at least 65 years old
  4. former temporary residents
  5. certain accounts that belong to lost members
  6. lost accounts that have less than $6,000
  7. balances (lost member small accounts)
  8. lost accounts that have been inactive for five years and with insufficient records to identify the account owner (insoluble lost member insoluble accounts)
  9. low-balance inactive accounts

In general, unclaimed super is required to be reported twice per year by the super funds to the ATO, and any unclaimed super money must be paid to the ATO. There are some territory and state public super schemes that might have to pay unclaimed superannuation money to their Territory or State government. However, they still must report this money to the ATO as unclaimed. This data will then be added by the ATO to its Superannuation Unclaimed Money Register. For more information, see the myGov website.

How to keep track of your super

There are a couple of things that you can do in order to keep your super in mind and in your sight.

  1. Stay in contact with your super fund.
  2. If you change your name or move house, update your details.
  3. Consolidate your supper
  4. Searching and consolidating your super online is easy.