Claim your share of $10bn annually by checking eligibility
BILLIONS of dollars are going begging each year because Australians are failing to claim their government benefits.
From energy and education payments to allowances and assistance packages, consumers are missing out as our complex system makes it all too hard.
The Commonwealth Bank has crunched the numbers and estimates at least $10 billion goes unclaimed annually.
CBA chief digital officer Pete Steel said the two main reasons benefits weren’t claimed were awareness and complexity.
“Unclaimed benefits is a global phenomenon,” he said.
“With the hundreds of benefits provided by our governments, many Australians aren’t aware the benefits exist or if they’re eligible. Even if they are aware of the benefit, the complexity to apply and receive entitlements may lead them to abandon the application process.”
The bank has launched a benefits finder feature on its app that connects people to around 250 potential benefits and nudges them to claim.
“A large amount of Australians are eligible for benefits throughout their lifetime, but many miss out,” Mr Steel said.
There is no public data about what doesn’t get claimed, but it is believed that the biggest missed payments relate to income assistance such as parental leave, pensions and carers’ allowances.
Planning for Prosperity senior adviser Bob Budreika said a client recently found she was missing out on thousands of dollars of carer allowance.
“It’s getting more complex,” he said. “When it comes to Centrelink, they have a shopfront but don’t really provide advice. If you walk in with a question they will say ‘the phone’s over there - go and make a call or check the computer terminal’.
“It’s basically self-serve, and sitting on the phone for an hour and a half is discouraging.”
Mr Budreika said people should seek advice either from a financial planner or a financial counsellor. “There’s plenty of online calculators at Centrelink and other institutions,” he said.
‘Unclaimed benefits is a global phenomenon’ CBA’s Pete Steel