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May 9, 2020

Do You Have Unclaimed Money Out There?

Unclaimed money refers to money that has been lost from bank accounts, shares of stocks, investments, life insurance policies, etc. Usually, the money gets lost when people move to a new house and have totally forgotten updating their information with the bank or financial institution.

Any unclaimed money that the ASIC has received will usually be given to the Commonwealth of Australia Consolidated Revenue Fund. Whoever is the rightful owner should be able to claim the funds any time and there’s no time limit in claiming these funds.

Funds from bank accounts that have become inactive for 7 years due to no deposit and withdrawals are also considered unclaimed money. Furthermore, insurance policies that have matured and were not claimed for 7 years already are also considered unclaimed money.

State governments are known to keep unclaimed money from different sources, like salaries, share dividends, and trust funds. Refer to this link for a list of state-specific agencies and contacts that can help you search for your unclaimed money – https://moneysmart.gov.au/find-unclaimed-money/money-held-by-state-governments

Here’s everything you need to know about unclaimed money.

How to Find Out If You Have Any Unclaimed Money Out There?

It’s common for funds from shares, investments, insurance policies and bank accounts to get lost especially if the person has totally forgotten about it or if they’ve moved to a new place and did not update the account.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission, more commonly known as ASIC, can assist individuals in conducting searches for unclaimed money using its database, with the use of a transaction number or name.

If the money that was lost has been found, the owner has to lodge a claim in order to get it. It’s easy to check if you’ve got any funds that have not been claimed. Simply go online and refer to this link – https://moneysmart.gov.au/find-unclaimed-money.

If your ASIC search doesn’t reveal anything, there are other ways to look for unclaimed money. You can refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Australian Taxation Office, or the state government’s website.

How to Look for Lost or Unclaimed Superannuation

To look for lost or unclaimed super, you can refer to ATO and AUSfund. They both have superannuation tools that can help with your search.

All you need to input is your Tax File Number (TFN). And if you decide to move your unclaimed super to any of your preferred funds, you also need to key-in your fund membership number.

What is Lost and Unclaimed Super?

If you decide to switch jobs or perhaps you have a second job that pays for your superannuation, it is highly possible that you’ve got some unclaimed or lost super out there that you don’t have any knowledge of. As a matter of fact, the Australian Tax Office or ATO is holding billions of dollars of unclaimed or lost super.

Usually, super is stored in the fund where it is paid and could get idle eventually, especially if they are unable to locate or contact you. In this case, the funds will be referred to as lost super. Before, super funds that were holding small and inactive accounts were being transferred to the AUSfund where it will be kept until someone shows up to claim it.

Inactive and small accounts with a value below $6,000 and have not been receiving any contribution for 16 months will be moved to the ATO. They will then attempt to compare the funds to the active account of the member.

This is the account that’s been receiving the contributions. If in the event that they cannot find an active account, the funds will remain in ATO until someone shows up to claim it. This is called the unclaimed super. This will still be your super and you can still claim it or have it transferred to the super fund that you prefer.

States with the Highest Amount of Lost and Unclaimed Super

The ATO released a report outlining the total value of unclaimed and lost super through postcode, including a breakdown per territory and state.

Here are the figures from such report:

  • WA has $2.2 billion
  • VIC has $4.7 billion
  • TAS has $404 million
  • SA has $1.4 billion
  • QLD has $2.8 billion
  • NT has $258 million
  • NSW has $6 billion
  • ACT has $438 million

7 of the postcodes on top of the list of lost or unclaimed super came from NSW and the other 3 are from Victoria.

Liverpool holds the top spot, having 13,251 lost or unclaimed super with a total value of $81,085,282.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What results come up?

The data that will appear on your search for unclaimed money is a result of lodgements that came from several banks, credit unions, building societies, life insurance companies, registered Australian companies, and friendly societies.

However, ASIC will not guarantee the overall consistency or quality of the data inputted due to the fact that the given data is provided by several institutions.

  • What is Original Transaction Number (OTN)?

The unclaimed money on the database will be provided with a unique OTN or Original Transaction Number. If you found a relevant record when you search using your name, take note of the OTN since you’ll need this when making a claim.

You will also need this number whenever you decide to relocate the record later on. It will also help ASIC whenever you need to consult your claim.

  • Will I have to use my name or the name of the deceased person when searching for a life insurance policy?

Records that relate to the life insurance policy will slightly differ from that of the companies and banks since the policy owner might be different from that of the life insured. If you’re going to do a search using the name, both names will be searched.

For instance, if you’re going to locate a policy under “Robert Smith”, any life policy that has this name, whether he is the owner or the insured will show up in the database.

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