People suffering from a terminal medical condition will have easier access to any lost superannuation they have, with the passage of a Bill through the Parliament – which also extends tax relief for merging super funds and moves some responsibility from DHS to the ATO.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 1) Bill 2018 has passed both houses of Parliament and awaits Royal Assent.
The, as yet, Bill enables the ATO to pay unclaimed superannuation directly to people with a terminal medical condition. Currently these amounts, in most cases, would first have to be transferred to a superannuation account.
This change has been some time coming – it was included in a Bill introduced to the House of Representatives in November 2015, the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Repeal Day 2015) Bill 2016. But this Bill lapsed in 2016.
The 2018 Measures No. 1 Bill also moves responsibility for the release of superannuation on compassionate grounds from the Department of Human Services to the ATO. Treasury released draft regulations supporting this change, with the consultation process ending on 23 March.
Additionally the Bill extends tax relief for merging superannuation funds until 1 July 2020. This change was included in the 2017/18 Budget – as the relief was set to lapse on 1 July 2017 – but has taken until now to be legislated.