The benefits of lost or inactive members are protected by:
- the Regulations, and
- the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999.
Who is a lost member?
Members are considered lost if:
- a fund has never had an address for them, or
- at least two letters have been returned unclaimed.
Who is an inactive member?
Members are considered inactive if no contributions or rollovers have been received for them for at least two years.
What protection is available?
The full account balance of lost members must be protected whether the account balance exceeds $1000 or not. Protection begins 90 days after a member is determined to be lost.
Paying the benefits into a rollover fund
A fund trustee may choose to roll a lost member’s benefits into an eligible rollover fund rather than maintain the accounts.
Reporting lost members to the Tax Office
Superannuation funds (including eligible rollover funds) must report lost members to the Commissioner for Taxation and provide details, including the members’ withdrawal benefits, every six months.
Finding lost superannuation
The Australian Tax Office maintains a register of lost members with a view to re-uniting people with their superannuation benefits. Members of the public can see details from the register on the Australian Tax Office’s website free of charge. The register is also published annually, and it is a popular resource for members of the public searching for lost superannuation.
A number of companies have sprung up offering to recover lost superannuation on a fee-for-service basis.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.