Thousands of Australians are missing out on $225 million in unclaimed Medicare benefits – here’s how to check if you’re owed money
Hundreds of thousands of Australians are missing out on unclaimed Medicare benefits due to a problem that can be easily fixed.
A massive $225 million in Medicare payments remains in the coffers of government agency Services Australia.
Unpaid benefits are piling up because millions of Australians have failed to update their Medicare and MyGov account information.
Hundreds of thousands of Australians have yet to claim their Medicare benefits (pictured) because their details are not up to date on their Medicare and MyGov accounts.
Figures obtained from Services Australia at the end of August show more than 954,000 Australians are eligible to receive their share of unclaimed benefits.
NSW has the highest number of residents with unclaimed refunds.
Nearly 280,000 people have yet to claim nearly $70 million in benefits.
Around 237,000 Victorians are yet to claim benefits worth more than $57 million, while almost 200,000 Queenslanders are eligible for more than $44 million in refunds.
Opposition government services critic Paul Fletcher criticized the government for withholding money from those who needed it most.
He urged Government Services Minister Bill Shorten to “be transparent” and explain why the government is “sitting on so much money instead of directing it to affected customers”.
“Millions of families are struggling, and we have a government that is more focused on form than substance when it comes to supporting households,” Mr Fletcher said.
Thousands of Australians have yet to claim Medicare benefits worth more than $200 million, according to figures (pictured) obtained from the Services Australia website.
Liberal government services spokesman Paul Fletcher (pictured) urged the government to get the payments to those who need them most.
Services Australia chief executive Hank Jongen said refunds cannot be processed until recipients update their contact details online.
“The agency cannot make payments to Medicare claimants if there is no valid bank account registered to their Medicare account, or if the details are incorrect,” Jongen said.
“Once bank details are updated, unclaimed Medicare benefits are typically paid within three days.”
Services Australia states on its website that payment will be held until customers obtain the correct information.
“We will withhold your Medicare benefits if we do not have your banking information,” the website states.
“As soon as you give us your banking information, we can pay you your Medicare benefits.
“We will automatically pay all future benefits into this account once we have evaluated and approved your application.”
The Services Australia website says people can only claim their Medicare benefits if the agency has the correct customer information, otherwise refunds will be withheld.
People have been asked to update their contacts and banking details on their Medicare and MyGov accounts to ensure they receive their payments.
Those who do not have a Medicare account have also been asked to create one and link it to their MyGov account so their contact details are up to date.
People can also contact or visit the nearest service center for help in managing their details.
The simple workaround would allow refunds and payments to be processed and sent to recipients.