Federal government updates how to find unclaimed money

ConsumerAffairs

Tax refunds, stimulus checks, money from closed accounts, and more

What better time of the year to get some “free money,” huh? There’s certainly a lot to be had.  

The state of Ohio oversees over $3.9 billion in unclaimed funds, there’s $3.5 billion in Illinois and more than $1 billion of unclaimed money sitting in Oregon. And there’s certainly a good chance that some of that money is rightfully yours as someone’s heir.

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) estimates that one in 10 Americans may have unclaimed property.

These funds can sit quietly in the hands of state governments for decades. There could be leftover insurance money from your grandparents, divorce settlement checks that never got cashed or any number of things. The reason these funds sit there is because very few people take them seriously or take the time to investigate them properly.

Most unclaimed money is held by individual states, not the federal government, but USA.gov – the U.S. government’s official portal and probably its most comprehensive site – thought it would stick its nose in the situation and update consumers on how to search for their potential piece of the pie.

You should know that this is somewhat of a crapshoot and there will be some paperwork involved if you find something worthwhile. But, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Step 1: Search by state

The biggest database where you can search for unclaimed money from your state’s unclaimed property office is Unclaimed.org. If you have lived in other states, you should check their unclaimed property offices, too.

Step 2: Search for specialty databases

Besides the individual states, there are other databases worth checking, too – insurance, taxes, employment, Native American, etc. Here’s what USA.gov lists in that regard:

Search for unclaimed money

Database or agency

Employers

Unclaimed insurance money

Taxes

Investments

SEC enforcement funds – Search the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) database for money from an investment enforcement case.

Bank failures

Savings bonds

Use TreasuryHunt.gov to find matured savings bonds that have stopped earning interest. You can also learn how to replace a lost or destroyed savings bond.

Bankruptcies

Use the U.S. Courts Unclaimed Funds Locator to search for money you may be owed after a person or business declared bankruptcy.

Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts

The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Trust Funds Administration (BTFA) manages Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts for Native American and Alaska Native beneficiaries. Check the Whereabouts Unknown search tool to see if you have an unclaimed account.

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