Unclaimed money

Aussies can claim $1.5 billion in lost cash

Aussies can score some extra cash by making a claim for “lost money” that could be yours, with $1.5 billion up for grabs.

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The cash boost is thanks to a government initiative that aims to reconnect people with money they may have lost over the years in shares, bank accounts and life insurance.

There’s about $1.5 billion in the pool of lost cash according to Moneysmart, a government website that offers advice and helps people to recoup their unclaimed money.

Aussies can claim their share of $1.5 billion in lost money. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar

Money can become lost when an individual moves house and forgets to update their details with a financial institution or company, but the cash is still rightfully theirs.

Bank account balances, for instance, turn into “unclaimed money” after seven years of inactivity, while life insurance policies become unclaimed seven years after the policy matures without a claim.

Unclaimed money is then sent to ASIC and transferred into the Commonwealth of Australia Consolidated Revenue Fund, where it’s available to be claimed at any time by its rightful owner.

There’s no time limit on making a claim, and Aussies can even earn interest on their cash for the time that it was held by ASIC.

Moneysmart’s free unclaimed money search. Picture: Moneysmart.gov.au

How to make a lost money claim

First, complete a free unclaimed money search via Moneysmart to find out if any cash is attached to your name. If it is, you should lodge a claim via ASIC.

TikTokker sugarmammatv urged her 15,000 followers to make use of the “quick and easy” government initiative.

“(My partner) did this last night in bed on his phone and he found out he has $167 owed to him by an overpaid insurance premium from many, many years ago,” she said.

“If you happen to find some unclaimed money of yours … make sure you put it towards one of your financial goals and dreams.”

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Several commenters said they’d received a financial boost by searching for their unclaimed money.

One commenter said they had received $634 in unclaimed cash, while another wrote of a family member who was owed more than $50,000.

If ASIC’s unclaimed money fund comes up short, you can also search a number of other government agencies for lost cash.

The Australian Taxation Office locates lost super, Services Australia holds onto unpaid Medicare benefits and state governments hold many kinds of lost money including deceased estates, lost share dividends and salaries and wages.

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