If you ask people about the best feeling ever, you will most likely get different answers. Most people will agree that finding unexpected money is one of the most thrilling things that can happen to them. In fact, there is a chance that you might be due unclaimed money. How is that possible? How can you claim it? And how much is it? We have the answers to all of these questions!
Where Does the Unclaimed Money Come From?
Lately, there have been lots of media reports, news, and ads talking about “unclaimed property” that people in the U.S. may get. When a business or a financial institution abandons money, it is usually referred to as unclaimed property. In other words, the accounts or properties that are deemed abandoned haven’t had any activity in a certain amount of time. This period of inactivity is called a dormancy period. If no one claims the property during this time frame, the state will receive ownership of the property. It is a legal obligation that the property be turned over to the state.
Because of this, many people can claim money that is actually theirs. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) estimates that 1 in 10 people have a property waiting for them to claim.
What Types of Unclaimed Property Are There?
Tangible and intangible are the two types of unclaimed property. Intangible property, such as stocks and uncashed checks, is the most common sort of unclaimed property. On the other hand, the tangible unclaimed property can be something like a safety deposit box. You will find that unclaimed property can come in many different forms such as:
- Bank accounts (savings, checking, etc.)
- Deposit certificates
- Safety deposit box contents
- Customer overpayments
- Mineral royalty payments
- Traveler’s checks
- Refunds or payments from life insurance and insurance plans
- Uncashed dividends
- Uncashed payroll checks
- Utility security deposits
- Gift certificates or money orders that have not been redeemed (in some states)
How to Claim Your Money?
Claiming your money is an easy job. First, you need to know where you might find it. There are many ways to do that depending on the source of the money. Besides that, there is a search tool you may use as well. There are other possibilities to think about even though there is no federal government website that looks for any unclaimed money you might have.
One way to find your unclaimed property is by searching official state government databases for free. You can find your state’s search engine when you visit the NAUPA website. Keep in mind that each state has different guidelines for requesting funds. In addition to using a state search tool, you may also consider the following search methods when looking for money:
- Places You Worked
- Tax Refunds
- Banking and Investments
- International Sources
Places You Worked
Your ex-employer may owe you money–did you know that? To see if you are due money from a company or a business you worked for, you should check with the United States Department of Labor (DOL). They can help you find and claim unpaid wages that your employer might owe because they violated labor laws. If you believe you may be due back wages, you should check the DOL website for lists of employees who have unclaimed money.
There is another website that can help you check out for a pension from previous employers if you think you might be entitled to one. People that are looking for a pension plan that rightfully belongs to them can benefit from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). PBGC can help people find their pension plan if the company they were employed for either went out of business or terminated the plan.
You might be owed some money from tax refunds. To check, you should get in touch with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Check out their website to find out what you might be due.
Although there are many sources of unclaimed money that are related to insurance, two popular sources are VA life insurance and FHA insurance. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) database is the starting point you need to look for VA Life Insurance unclaimed property. You should keep in mind that the database will not show any money that might be owed from Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) from 1965 to the present or Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) from that timeframe.
On top of that, FHA insurance may also owe you money. Because the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is part of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), you will get your refund from the HUD if you are eligible for one. You can look for such a refund through the HUD database.
Banking and Investments
You may be due unclaimed money in many scenarios. There are four typical sources of these types of funds: bank failures, credit union failures, SEC claims funds, and savings bonds. In case of a bank failure, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will help you figure out whether you have any money. On the other hand, when it comes to credit union failures, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) will help you find your unclaimed money.
If a business (or individual) owes investors money, there may be enforcement actions for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unclaimed property. You can use the SEC website to check if you are due anything. Last but not least, folks could be due money on savings bonds. You can check to see if there are any matured savings bonds that do not earn interest anymore through the TreasuryHunt.gov website.
There are times when Americans find out that they can receive money from foreign governments. In that situation, they can submit their international claims online through a website the United States Department of Treasury built to make it easier to look for that kind of money.
When a property or a financial account is not in use for at least one year, it goes back to the state. This is how it becomes unclaimed. You will find out that there are many different types of resources from which people can claim money. If you want to check whether there is money waiting for you to claim, there are a variety of sources to consider such as:
- Businesses You Worked For
- Tax Refunds
- Banking and Investments
- Foreign Governments
In addition, you should learn from this experience to properly manage your finances. Keeping track of your expenses will help you handle your finances in a better way.