Thousands of Australians have received their share of $12 million in unclaimed Medicare benefits just in time for Christmas, with thousands more still eligible for a payment.
Fresh data on the distribution of held benefits comes two months after it was revealed nearly one million Australians were owed an accumulative $230 million in unclaimed funds.
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A total of 55,000 Australians have since received their share of the $12 million by updating their details with Medicare, which Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten called “fantastic progress” on Monday.
The stockpile of unclaimed benefits has been building up for years because affected Australians did not have valid bank details registered with Medicare.
Once details are updated, any owed funds should take several days to be deposited into the customer’s bank account.
On average, Australians with benefits being held by Medicare due to outdated or missing details are each owed about $240.
Australians between 18 and 24 years old have the most to gain, with more than $49 million in unclaimed benefits for 221,000 young people.
The government has been sending myGov inbox messages to the almost 700,000 Australians who have an active account, letting them know they are owed money.
But that doesn’t include the 300,000 who don’t have a myGov account, who are now being encouraged to make one via the app.
“Two minutes on the app, three days later money in your account, good news for Christmas,” Shorten said last month.
About 30 per cent of all myGov sign-ins are now done in the app, which is nearly one year old, and has nearly 3.8 million users.
– With AAP