SUPERANNUATION companies owe Rochester and district more than $4 million in lost or unclaimed super, according to statistics published by the Australian Tax Office.
Rochester, Elmore and Lockington have a total of 613 lost or unclaimed superannuation accounts worth an enormous $4,192,103 overall.
Rochester and surrounds, which includes Bamawm, Nanneella, Ballendella, Timmering, Diggora, Fairy Dell and Bonn, contribute to over half of that total with $2,923,748.
Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said the ATO service MyGov consolidated more than 540,000 active, lost and unclaimed super accounts worth $4.4 billion last year alone.
“Often people lose touch with their fund by simply changing jobs or moving home. It’s important to know that this doesn’t mean it’s lost for ever, getting back in touch is easier than you think,” Mr Whyte said.
New legislation to reunite Australians with their super requires funds to report and pay “inactive and low balance accounts” to the ATO, including accounts that have not received a contribution for 16 months and have a balance below $6,000.
“In total, we’ve received over 2.3 million inactive low-balance accounts from super funds, valued at approximately $2.16 billion,” Mr Whyte said.
“We are now working to reunite Australians with these amounts by either transferring it into an active super account, or directly into their bank account where the amount is less than $200 or the member is aged over 65 years.”
“Anyone who thinks they may get a direct payment should make sure their bank account details are up to date by logging in to ATO online via MyGov.
“Even if you won’t be eligible for a direct payment, it’s important to do your future a favour by engaging with your super now.”
Director of Sheridan Partners Peter Nelson said the money could be owed to itinerant workers or backpackers in the Goulburn Valley and to older super funds.
“Generally this money that’s floating around is old money,” Mr Nelson said.
“People are a bit more savvy in keeping an eye on their money nowadays, so this would have been from a while ago — but it’s never lost unless you go looking for it.
“If a backpacker goes and works for a few months, up until now there’s always been a default fund in their name. But if they go away and get a job in the next place and they end up with another fund, they don’t know where any of them are because they moved around.
“It’s getting a bit more regimented now, but it hasn’t been looked after over the years.”
Super funds are defined ‘lost’ when account holders are uncontactable at their current address and have made no contributions or rollovers into the account for 12 months, while super funds can become ‘unclaimed’ once they are eligible to be withdrawn and the fund cannot contact the account holder.
For information on how to manage your super and view all your super accounts including lost and unclaimed super, visit ato.gov.au/checkyoursuper
To find out how much lost super is in your postcode and to see other superannuation statistics visit ato.gov.au/lostsuper