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  • Types of unclaimed super and USM situations

    We expect you to meet your USM reporting and payment obligations to us using the SuperStream data standards by 30 April 2018.

    On this page:

    If a person becomes entitled to a superannuation benefit, as a general principle you should attempt to contact them as soon as you can. Their super entitlement will generally be considered unclaimed USM if you've attempted to contact and pay them but been unsuccessful.

    Member 65 years or older

    An amount payable to a member of a super fund is taken to be unclaimed super if all the following criteria are met:

    • the member has reached eligibility age (65 years or older if so prescribed by the fund's governing rules)
    • you have not received an amount for the member (or in the case of a defined benefit super scheme, no benefit has accrued for the member) within the past two years
    • after a period of five years since you last had contact with the member, you have been unable to contact them again after making reasonable efforts.

    Non-member spouse

    An amount payable to a non-member spouse is taken to be unclaimed super if all the following criteria are met:

    • a payment split applies to a splittable payment for an interest that a person has as a member of a fund
    • as a result of the payment split, the non-member spouse (or their legal personal representative if they have died) is entitled to be paid an amount
    • after making reasonable efforts and after a reasonable period has passed, you are unable to ensure that the non-member spouse or their legal personal representative will receive the amount.

    Deceased member

    An amount payable for a deceased member of a fund is considered to be unclaimed super if all the following criteria are met:

    • the member has died
    • you determine that a benefit (other than a pension or annuity) is immediately payable for the member, under the governing rules of the fund or by the law
    • you have not received an amount for the member (or no benefit has accrued for the member under a defined benefit super scheme) within the past two years
    • after making reasonable efforts and after a reasonable period has passed, you are unable to ensure that the benefit will be received by the person who is entitled to receive it.

    Former temporary resident member

    If we believe a former temporary resident has super in your fund, we will issue you with a section 20C notice. This requires you to report and pay the amount to us as unclaimed super.

    A member is a former temporary resident at a point in time if:

    • they held a temporary visa that lapsed at least six months previously and they left Australia at least six months previously
    • they are not the holder of a temporary visa, a permanent visa or a prescribed visa, and have not made a valid application for a permanent visa
    • they are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen.

    Small or insoluble lost member

    On this page:

    A lost member account of a fund is taken to be unclaimed super if it does not relate to a defined benefit interest, and either:

    • the balance of the lost member account is less than $6,000 (small lost member account)
    • the lost member account has been inactive for 12 months and the provider is satisfied that it will never be possible to pay an amount to the member (insoluble lost member account).

    Under section 22 of the SUMLMA, a member of a super provider is a 'lost member' at a particular time if the member is, at that time either a:

    • lost RSA holder within the meaning of regulation 1.06 of the Retirement Savings Accounts Regulations 1997 (RSAR)
    • lost member within the meaning of regulation 1.03A of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations (SISR).

    The provisions governing the payment to the Commissioner of certain accounts relating to lost members are contained within Part 4A of the SUMLMA.

    The term 'lost member account' and the meaning as per section 24B of the SUMLMA to include all of the following:

    • the member on whose behalf the account is held is a lost member as defined in the SISR or RSAR
    • small accounts of lost members
    • inactive accounts of unidentifiable lost members.

    See also:

    How to determine an insoluble lost member account

    When considering if a lost member account is insoluble, you should be satisfied that the member meets the definition by asking: 'Does your fund hold enough information about the member to enable you to find the member?'

    If the answer is no, then ask: 'If the member seeks to claim their benefit in the future, would the information held enable you to verify that that person is the owner of the benefit?'

    The following are examples of when there is insufficient information to establish account ownership:

    • You only have the member's name (a single piece of information).
    • You have the member's name and know the contributions were made by a large national employer – due to the size of this employer, it may not be possible to establish ownership.

    The following are examples of when there is sufficient information to establish account ownership:

    • You have the member's name and their full date of birth (two complete pieces of information).
    • You have the member's name, know that the contributions were made by a small business in Byron Bay, and have the employer's ABN – the ABN may enable the information to be verified against the employee's payment summary.

    Reporting if the interest takes the balance to $6,000 or more

    If a lost member account meets the definition of a small lost member account on the unclaimed money day, then it should be reported as such.

    If an account is credited with interest before the corresponding scheduled statement day and this results in an account balance of $6,000 or more, it should still be reported as a small lost member account. The full balance of the account as at the scheduled statement day must be paid to us.

    Reporting lost members with balances less than $6,000 not reported as lost

    All accounts that fit the definition are to be reported and paid as unclaimed super. Lost member accounts must meet the lost member definition in the SISR or RSAR. These definitions do not include the requirement that the member has been previously reported to the lost member register (LMR).

    A member must first meet the lost member definition for their account to qualify as a small lost member account. The definition of a lost uncontactable member has been updated. This change also affects the definition of a small lost member account.

    An activity test has been included in the definition of uncontactable lost members so your fund can avoid transferring accounts that are still receiving contributions.

    Your members are defined as lost uncontactable if you have not received a contribution or rollover for them within the last 12 months and either:

    • you have never held an address for the member
    • one or more written communications have been returned unclaimed; note that if one written communication has been sent to the last known address and returned unclaimed, you may choose to class the member as uncontactable.

    Therefore, if you have a new member you are receiving contributions for but you don't have their address details, they will not be considered a lost uncontactable member. These types of accounts will not meet the small lost member definition if their balance is below $6,000. This will provide you with an opportunity to obtain their contact details before you are required to report them as a lost member.

    Member accounts that are inactive but not lost

    Funds can have members who are defined as inactive because contributions have not been received for the last five years. However, they are not 'lost members' because their addresses are known.

    According to section 24B of the SUMLMA, to meet the definition of a small or insoluble lost member account the member must first be a lost member according to the SISR or RSAR.

    Subregulation 1.03A (1) contains the definition of lost members and this includes 'inactive' members. If a member meets the full definition of 'inactive' then they may be a lost member account for the purposes of the SUMLMA.

    The 'inactive' test is a separate test to being 'uncontactable'. Therefore, a member can qualify as a 'lost member' without being uncontactable.

    Reporting members with balances less than $6,000 and unclaimed

    Small and insoluble lost member accounts can be included on the same USM reporting as other unclaimed super (for example, members over 65 years or deceased).

    The due dates for reporting of unclaimed super monies are 31 October and 30 April.

    If you are reporting former temporary resident unclaimed super in response to a section 20C notice, the member's TFN must be reported and must match the TFN advised by us on the notice.

    If a member account is both 'small' and 'insoluble'

    You must report and pay all lost member accounts that meet either definition. A lost member account that meets the definition of both a small lost member account and an insoluble lost member account as at the end of the unclaimed money day could be reported as either of these categories.

    If more than one definition applies

    If more than one definition applies, the order of precedence is:

    1. unclaimed super that meets the definitions for either a deceased member or a non-member spouse
    2. former temporary residents identified on a section 20C notice
    3. USM for members older than 65 years old
    4. small or insoluble lost member accounts.

    It's up to you to work out the order in which you test for small or insoluble accounts. However, running the test for small accounts first may be the easiest.

    Criteria for small or insoluble lost member accounts is not age-related

    The definition of small lost member accounts and insoluble lost member accounts are not age-related. All accounts that meet either definition are to be reported, regardless of the age of the account owner. The only age-related criteria for unclaimed super are under section 12 of the SUMLMA.

    Last modified: 19 Jan 2018QC 24735