The number of consumers checking to see if they are eligible for unclaimed cash or government benefits has doubled in the last month amid growing financial worries as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.
New data from the Commonwealth Bank showed the number of customers accessing its Benefits Finder service, which allows consumers to search for unclaimed money in their name or check their eligibility for government payments, rose to 78,000 in the four weeks to 8 April, compared with 39,000 in the previous four-week period.
The data showed the majority of searches were for unclaimed money, with 34,000 customers starting a claim of this type. A further 7,000 customers applied for unclaimed super, while 6,300 customers put in a claim for the Victorian Power Saver Bonus payment.
In addition, 5,900 people claimed coronavirus and JobSeeker payments, 2,800 claimed the Family Tax Benefit and 2,700 claimed for rent assistance.
CBA group executive of retail banking services Angus Sullivan said the data showed consumers were being much more proactive in asking for extra cash given many were at risk of losing their jobs, if they had not done so already.
“The coronavirus crisis has created significant financial wellbeing challenges for our customers,” Mr Sullivan said.
“We understand that many families are now making difficult choices to ensure they can meet their immediate needs while minimising the impact on their long-term financial security.”
With more consumers looking for information on what government support they were eligible for, the bank said it would add functionality for 15 new types of government payments, including Victoria’s utility relief grant scheme, WA’s hardship utility grant scheme and federal government crisis payments, to the Benefits Finder platform this week.
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