Nearly one million Australians could receive a festive season boost to their bank balance, as the government tries to return $234 million in unclaimed Medicare benefits.
On average, these Australians are missing out on about $240 but could reclaim the money within three days by updating their bank account details on the myGov website.
The stockpile of unclaimed benefits have been building up for years because these Australians did not have valid bank details registered with Medicare.
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten says it could be a financial boon for many Australians ahead of the Christmas period.
“We know Australians are doing it tough, and I want to reunite people with millions in unpaid Medicare benefits before the holidays,” he said.
Australians between 18 and 24 years old had the most to gain with more than $49 million in unclaimed benefits for 221,000 young people.
Nearly 700,000 people are set to receive a notification that Medicare owes them money but another 300,000 who don’t have a myGov account may not be contactable.
Mr Shorten is encouraging all Australians to create a myGov account to ensure they aren’t missing out.
“Two minutes on the app, three days later money in your account, good news for Christmas.”
Opposition spokesman for government services Paul Fletcher said the coalition had exposed the unclaimed benefits figures in October.
“Almost one million Australians have been missing out on vital hip pocket relief,” he told AAP.
“Families are struggling with cost of living pressures and this is their money, not the government’s.”
(Australian Associated Press)