Bright idea: Money for nothing

Need money? Just ask for it.

Money for nothing
Ryan McVay/Getty Images

A federal task force on financial literacy released its report last week, and along with typical industry warnings about the need for better financial planning and education was some simpler advice on how to get more money: just ask for it. According to the report, there are billions of dollars in government benefits that Canadians are entitled to but aren’t taking. Roughly 160,000 seniors, for instance, aren’t receiving social security benefits worth almost $1 billion. Only 40 per cent of eligible families have taken advantage of grants the federal government makes to registered education savings plans. And there are 55,000 Canadians who aren’t receiving their Canada Pension Plan benefits.

In Quebec, however, the number of people missing out on their provincial pension plan is almost zero, notes the report. The province uses computer databases to identify eligible seniors, who are phoned or even visited in person to make sure they receive what they’re entitled to.