How To Find Lost Superannuation

Originally written by Regina Collins
According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), there are more than 6.2 million lost and ATO-held accounts. As at 30 June 2019, that adds up to $20.8 billion of super money potentially being lost because an individual is uncontactable, has let their account become inactive, or hasn’t claimed their money.

If you’re in this position, we’ve looked at some of the steps you may want to consider taking in order to track down your super.

What is lost or unclaimed superannuation?

According to the ATO, your super fund will report you as a lost member in one of the following situations:

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

Accounts that are considered ‘lost’ are still held by the super fund, however super can also be categorised as ‘unclaimed’. These types of accounts are reported to and transferred to the ATO. According to it, the following types of people can have unclaimed super:

  • a member of a super fund who is 65 years old or older
  • a non-member spouse
  • a deceased member
  • former temporary residents with unclaimed super money
  • members with ‘lost’ accounts with balances of less than $6,000
  • members with ‘lost’ accounts which have been inactive for a period of five years and have insufficient records to ever identify the owner of the account

Unclaimed and lost super is still considered to be owned by the original contributor, and it may be easier than you think to claim it.

How do I find lost or unclaimed superannuation?

Generally speaking, there are five steps that may help you find and consolidate your lost or unclaimed superannuation: :

  1. Set up a myGov account
  2. Provide your details including name, date of birth and tax file number
  3. Link your myGov account to ATO online services to view your super details
  4. Call the ATO on 13 28 65 if you have further questions
  5. Consolidate your super into one main super account.

Why should I consider consolidating my super?

Forgotten super is money – your money – that is potentially being eaten into by administration fees and life insurance premiums. Multiple unclaimed super accounts could mean multiple annual fees and insurance premiums being subtracted. In some cases, fees could be deducted until idle accounts run out of money and are closed.

How does super go astray?

Based on the national average tenure of three years and four months per job, a school leaver today could have as many as 17 jobs in their lifetime. Considering it’s not uncommon for people to open a new super account when they start a new job, that’s potentially a lot of different superannuation accounts in your name.

People might also have lost track of their super accounts. For example, they may not have updated their contact details with their funds when they moved house or changed their name.

Choosing a superannuation account

Want to consolidate all your lost super but are unsure which fund to choose? You can get an idea of some of the factors to consider when comparing superannuation accounts in our article ‘how to choose a super fund’.

It’s worth noting that consolidating super funds is beneficial for many people but isn’t right for everyone (we explain some of the reasons why here), so the pros and cons should be carefully weighed up. When looking for a suitable fund, there are many factors to consider, such as the fees charged, whether the insurance offering is suitable for you and the education and advice available. Past performance is an important consideration because it gives an indication of what a fund has been capable of delivering in the past through varied market conditions. However, investments can go up and down, so past performance is not necessarily an indication of future performance.

If you’re comparing Superannuation funds, the comparison table below displays some of the products currently available on Canstar’s database for Australians aged 30-39 with a balance of up to $55,000, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by company name (alphabetical). Use Canstar’s superannuation comparison selector to view a wider range of super funds.

Fee, performance and asset allocation information shown in the table above have been determined according to the investment profile in the Canstar Superannuation Star Ratings methodology that matches the age group you selected.

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