Protecting Your Super
The Federal Government’s Protecting Your Super Package Act comes into effect on 1 July 2019. The package is designed to protect Australians’ super savings from unnecessary erosion by fees and insurance costs.
The legislation includes changes to fees, the transfer of inactive low-balance accounts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), and stopping insurance for inactive members.
Superannuation funds will no longer be able to provide insurance for members (this includes any insurance for death, total and permanent disablement and income protection) whose account has been ‘inactive’ for more than 16 consecutive months. An account is considered inactive where:
- we have not received an amount to your account within the last 16 months; and
- you have not communicated to us that you wish to continue to receive insurance benefits despite otherwise holding an inactive account.
If you have an inactive account and would like to keep your cover, then you can:
- activate your account by simply contributing to your super. You can do this as a contribution or rollover and it doesn’t matter how much the amount is, or who pays it.
- Alternatively, you can provide us with an election in writing to keep your cover.
If your account switches from active to inactive we will notify you at 9, 12 and 15 months of inactivity to provide you with the opportunity to elect to maintain your insurance cover
Benefits of life insurance through your super
There are benefits to having insurance cover through your super, and they include:
- we work with our group life insurer to negotiate discounted bulk insurance rates for our members;
- as we are a profit-to-member industry super fund, you only pay for what it costs to provide the life insurance cover; and
- your insurance premiums are deducted quarterly from your super account, not your take-home pay so payments are hassle free.
Your rights to be covered by insurance remains unaffected until it is cancelled on the day your account has been inactive for 16 consecutive months.
To allow for the consolidation of multiple super accounts that a member may hold across several super funds, superannuation funds are required to transfer 'inactive low balance accounts' to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) as at 31 October 2019 (or half yearly after that). The ATO will then try and reunite your account (within 28 days of matching) with an active account elsewhere if that balance exceeds $6,000. Your account may be transferred to the ATO if:
- your account is less than $6,000;
- we have not received an amount (such as a rollover from another fund or a contribution) to your account within the last 16 months;
- we are not owed an amount in respect of your account;
- you have no insurance cover;
- you have not changed your investment options in the last 16 months; and
- you have not made or amended a binding death benefit nomination in the last 16 months.
The ATO will keep your money safe and you’ll pay $0 in fees while your money is with them, however, you will not benefit from receiving any investment returns from your super fund. When you claim your super or it is matched with another account, any interest due will be paid to you. Interest is based on the consumer price index (CPI).
Within 28 days of receiving your money, the ATO will try to transfer it to an active super fund if you have one, and where the transfer would take your total balance to $6,000 or more
Stop your account being transferred
If you do not want your account to be transferred to the ATO you can:
There will be a cap placed on administration fees and certain costs that members will be charged, if their account balance is less than $6,000. This cap will be equal to 3% of the member’s account balance. The cap aims to slow the rate of super being eaten away in fees on low balances. In addition, regardless of account balance, exit fees on all super accounts will be prohibited. Exit fees have been a disincentive for members to benefit from consolidating accounts which can reduce paying additional fees across multiple accounts.
What does this mean for me?
It is important for Vision Super members to be aware of these changes if you have a low balance or inactive account.
If you’re not sure if you’ll be affected, call us on 1300 300 820 and we will confirm whether you’re at risk of your insurance cover being turned off or your super account being transferred to the ATO. In each of these instances we will also be communicating with you directly.
Information about the Protect your super changes can also be found at the Money Smart website