You may have funds from utilities, insurance proceeds and more waiting to be claimed.
February 1, 2023, is National Unclaimed Property Day, a reminder to check whether you could have money available that never made its way to you. Many Americans miss out on funds they never received, mostly due to changing addresses over the years.
For example, when I checked my state’s unclaimed property website a few years ago, I found a small amount (less than $20) that was sent to and returned from my mailing address 20 years ago. I also found $80 owed to a friend. But the big surprise was finding that the State of Illinois owed my cousin Jim a whopping $3,400 from stock in a company where he worked years ago.
Jim’s impressive unclaimed property jackpot likely isn’t the norm. But that shouldn’t stop you from performing an easy search of your state’s unclaimed property site to find out if the state is holding money that you never received.
Start with Your State’s Unclaimed Property Database
The first place to begin your search for unclaimed money is your state’s unclaimed property database. Most states have a dedicated website or database where you can search for any funds or assets that have been turned over to the state as unclaimed property. Visit the website or contact the appropriate state agency to start your search. You will typically need to provide your name and other identifying information to conduct the search.
Expand Your Search to Other States
If you have lived or worked in multiple states, it’s essential to expand your search beyond your current state. Visit the unclaimed property databases of other states where you have resided or had financial activity. Each state’s database may have different requirements and processes, so be sure to follow the instructions provided.
Check Federal Agencies and Other Sources
In addition to state databases, certain federal agencies may also hold unclaimed funds. Examples include the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and the U.S. Treasury Department. Visit their respective websites or contact the agencies directly to explore any potential unclaimed funds or benefits.
Furthermore, consider checking other sources such as forgotten bank accounts, abandoned safe deposit boxes, and uncollected insurance policies. Contact financial institutions, insurance companies, and relevant organizations to inquire about any unclaimed funds or assets associated with your name.
The U.S. Bureau of the Fiscal Service recommends performing a search on the following websites, especially if you’ve lived in more than one state:
- Treasury Hunt: Unclaimed U.S. Securities and Payments
- Credit Union Unclaimed Shares
- National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (Individual State Unclaimed Asset Web Sites)
- US. Courts: Unclaimed Funds in Bankruptcy
- Undeliverable U.S. Federal Tax refund checks
- Veterans Administration Benefits
- U.S. Railroad Retirement Board
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
If you have lived abroad or have family from other countries consider expanding your search to include international assets such as Holocaust victims.
Utilize Online Unclaimed Money Databases
Several online platforms aggregate unclaimed money information from various sources, making it easier to conduct a comprehensive search. These databases may include state databases, federal sources, and other records. Popular online resources include MissingMoney.com and Unclaimed.org. Enter your information on these platforms to broaden your search and increase the likelihood of finding unclaimed funds.
Be Mindful of Scams
While searching for unclaimed money, it’s crucial to be cautious of potential scams. Avoid any services that require upfront fees or promise to retrieve unclaimed money for a substantial percentage of the funds. Legitimate services will not charge you to search for or claim unclaimed money. Always verify the authenticity of the sources and platforms you use for your search.
Stay away from sites that require payment
It’s easy for consumers unfamiliar with the process for locating unclaimed money to get roped into paying companies that claim they’ve found “unclaimed money” for them. Never pay a company that claims it can provide you with information about unclaimed property for a fee.
Instead, search the official state unclaimed property site for your state, which usually has a domain address ending in “.gov.” If a site doesn’t have “.gov” in its URL, keep searching or investigate further to make sure it’s the official state unclaimed property website.
Follow the Claim Process
When you locate unclaimed money that belongs to you, follow the specific claim process outlined by the relevant entity or agency. This process typically involves submitting documentation to prove your identity and entitlement to the funds. Be prepared to provide necessary documents, such as identification, proof of address, and any supporting evidence related to the unclaimed funds.
How do I receive my unclaimed money?
Once you locate unclaimed funds under your name, you must submit a claim for the money and provide proof of your identity such as a driver’s license.
While you’re searching, keep in mind that states keep the money until it’s claimed, so heirs who meet identification requirements can even claim money owed to deceased relatives.
Ready to get started on your search for unclaimed funds? Here are the official state sites where you can search for unclaimed money you’re owed :
Tracking down unclaimed money can be an exciting endeavor that may yield unexpected financial benefits. By conducting a thorough search through state databases, federal sources, online platforms, and other relevant channels, you can increase your chances of finding unclaimed funds that rightfully belong to you. Remember to be diligent, follow the claim process diligently, and remain cautious of potential scams. With perseverance and a bit of luck, you may uncover unclaimed money that can make a meaningful difference in your financial situation.
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Published by Debt.com, LLC