Tuesday, 14 April 2020 09:33

Aussies searching for govt benefits through CBA online double

Aussies searching for govt benefits through CBA online double Image by Anrita1705 from Pixabay

The number of Australians using the feature "Benefits finder", in the Commonwealth Bank's digital app and online has more than doubled in the four weeks since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic, the bank claims.

This feature is used to search for welfare support and unclaimed cash and its use rose from 39,000 in the four weeks (up to 8 March) prior to the WHO declaring the disease outbreak a pandemic on 12 March, to 78,000 in the subsequent four weeks (to 5 April), CBA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The main things searched for using the Benefits feature in the four-week period in question were:

  • Unclaimed money (34,000);
  • Unclaimed super (7000);
  • Power saver bonus (6300);
  • Coronavirus and JobSeeker payments (5900);
  • Family Tax Benefit (2800); and
  • Rent assistance (2700).

The Benefits finder feature was added to the CBA's app and online in September last year and aims to help Australians locate money to which they are untitled but have not claimed. More than half-a-million claims have been started through the app since its launch, with 1.5 million people having had a look at it.

The CBA statement said from this week onwards, the Benefits feature could also be used to look for the following payments: VIC Utility Relief Grant Scheme (up to $1300), Federal Crisis payments (one week's income), WA Hardship Utility Grand Scheme (up to $960), SA Emergency Electricity Scheme (up to $400), ACT Rates deferment, NSW RentStart Bond Loan, ACT Funeral Costs ($500).

CBA Retail Banking Services group executive Angus Sullivan said: “The coronavirus crisis has created significant financial well-being challenges for our customers. 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.

“In addition to the support we are providing directly with our own product and service changes, we are determined to help our customers claim as many benefits and rebates as possible to free up money for essential expenses and reduce their financial stress.

“We encourage everyone to see what else they may be eligible for; in some cases customers are missing out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars that could help them through difficult times.

“Tools like Benefits finder aim to simplify an often complex process, making it easier for customers to understand what they may be entitled to and reducing the complexity around submitting a claim. It’s one of the many ways we are helping to improve our customers’ financial well-being during this difficult and unprecedented time."

The Benefits feature was developed in collaboration with Harvard’s Sustainability, Accountability and Transparency Research Laboratory.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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