In today’s work environment, where many of us change jobs frequently, it is easy to lose track of your accumulated super simply because you are too busy.
This is particularly the case if several employers have paid super contributions on your behalf into different funds and you have not kept track of where the contributions have gone. If you work casually, part time, move around a lot, change addresses and don’t keep all your super fund statements, it can be difficult to keep a handle on where your super money is.
The amounts of lost super are not small: a Government press release dated 4 February 2011 stated that the amount of lost super was $18.8 billion. Some of that might be yours.
If you think you are missing some of your super accounts, phone the ATO’s SuperSeeker on 13 28 65, or visit the ‘super’ page on the ATO website at www.ato.gov.au. The SuperSeeker tool allows you to search the lost members’ register, which holds details of lost super accounts, including the name of the super fund that reported the lost account. With either option, you will need to provide your name, date of birth and tax file number.
Once you have the name of your lost fund/s make direct contact with it. At this point, reclaiming your super is similar to organising a transfer to consolidate your accounts. You can also ask your super fund to conduct an inquiry using SuperMatch. The maximum time period in which this transfer must occur is 30 days.
Super funds may also transfer small and inactive super accounts to an eligible rollover fund (ERF). With more than 1.8 million accounts, the largest of these special types of funds is AUSfund, Australia’s Unclaimed Super Fund.
You can check if they have any of your super by undertaking a super search. You will need to provide your name and date of birth. If they have super for you, they will transfer it to your fund of choice – at no charge.
Consolidating super accounts
If you have little bits of super scattered across different accounts with different funds, then it's generally a good idea to combine them all into one account. Combining small or inactive accounts:
- reduces the risk of becoming a lost member
- can save you fees and therefore increase your super balance
- reduces the risk of paying for multiple insurance policies
- helps keep track of your super.
Remember to check for exit fees and insurance benefits.
You can also search for other unclaimed money through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.
All other unclaimed monies (bank, insurance, shares etc) can be checked on the Unclaimed Money Register in each state or territory.
All have online search facilities.