It’s a very common thing to feel like you have some money yet you just can’t remember where you put it. Does this happen to you, too? Don’t worry, you don’t need to dig into your savings just yet, because there might be money for you elsewhere. Your state may have unclaimed property, some of which may be due to you! Unclaimed property can come in many forms whether it be money or something else. So, it’s important you know about what this is and how you may be able to benefit.
The Definition of Unclaimed Money
Unclaimed money has been a hot topic among Americans. It is talked about in ads and on the news all over the country. The term ‘unclaimed property’ is used when people are discussing properties that have been abandoned by companies or financial institutions. Abandoned properties refer to certain properties (or accounts) that have gone through a dormancy period. A dormancy period refers to a certain period of time that experiences no activity. Once this period is over, the property is specified as unclaimed and is given to the state (which is the law!). The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), says that 1 out of 10 people can use their right to get an unclaimed property.
Different Types of Unclaimed Property
Unclaimed properties come in two types:
The most frequently used type of unclaimed property is the intangible one, which involves stocks and uncashed paychecks. However, tangible unclaimed properties would be safety deposit boxes (among others). Here are some of the most common examples of unclaimed property:
- Certificates of deposit
- Financial accounts (like checking and savings accounts)
- Contents of safety deposit boxes
- Customer overpayments
- Insurance payments or refunds
- Mineral royalty payments
- Traveler’s checks
- Trust distributions
- Uncashed dividends or payroll checks
- Money orders or gift certificates (in some states) that haven’t been redeemed
- Utility security deposits
How You Can Find Unclaimed Money
Unlike what people might think, unclaimed property is actually super easy to find. Due to the fact that there is a wide range of unclaimed property types, there are many ways to find them depending on what your source is. Even though there might not be an actual federal government website that allows you to directly search for unclaimed property, there are always other ways to do that. You can access official state government databases. This is a free resource, where you will easily be able to search for and find any unclaimed property that is yours by right. Visit the NAUPA website and select your state’s search engine. You should know that every state has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to claiming properties.
While the state search tool is very useful, there are also other ways to search for unclaimed money. The way you search will depend on the source. The following sources have unique ways to search in addition to state databases:
- Tax Refunds
- International Sources
- Investments and Banking
There are a number of different sources of unclaimed property that are related to insurance, but the most commonly used types are FHA Insurance and VA Life Insurance. To find an unclaimed property via VA Life Insurance, you can browse through the database of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Having said that, you should know that this database excludes funds that are due from Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) from 1965 to the present day.
It is also possible for you to find out that FHA insurance owes you compensation. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is considered to be a part of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Why is that important? Well, that means HUD is responsible for issuing any refunds. People can easily browse through unclaimed refunds by using HUD’s database.
There are many roads you can take to claim money from employers. For unpaid wages, you can contact the United States Department of Labor (DOL) for assistance. You can also use their help in retrieving any payments owed to you by your employer in case they broke any labor laws. If you see that you have the right to get some wages back, make sure to search the DOL website. You can browse through a database of workers with money that is waiting to be claimed.
In case you are owed any pension payments from your previous employers, there’s another website that can help you. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is incredibly useful when it comes to assisting people with finding pension funds they can claim. This happens when companies go out of business or end a previously defined pension plan.
If you think you are entitled to a tax refund, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is where you should look. Make sure to visit the IRS website to find out what you are owed.
As an American citizen, you could have unclaimed money from governments in other countries. For obtaining foreign claims, there is a specific website that is used to find out what you are owed. This website is a service that is provided by the United States Department of Treasury.
Investments and Banking
There are many sources where you may be entitled to receive unclaimed money. Here are some of them:
- Bank Failures
- Credit Union Failures
- SEC Claims Funds
- Savings Bonds
Regarding bank failures, you can check with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) if you have any funds. Although when it comes to credit union failures, you can review the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
When it comes to enforcement cases, where an entity or an individual owes money to investors, your unclaimed funds will be at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). You can check the SEC website for your unclaimed funds. Last but not least, saving bonds is also a place to check for money that is due. The treasurhunt.gov website is where people visit to check for matured savings bonds that no longer gain interest.
In conclusion, if you find that any of your financial accounts or properties have gone through a dormancy period of at least a year or more, you should know that they will be turned over to the state. Once this is done, then they will be classified as unclaimed properties.
There is more than just one type of unclaimed property that is usually forgotten. If you wish to know if you have any unclaimed money, make sure to check different sources during your search.
In the future, make sure not to leave any money you have behind. Getting your finances straight should be one of your top priorities, as this will help you know what you have and what you are owed. Don’t forget to regularly update your contact information, especially your home address!