Do you have a claim for forgotten money?
Across the United States, there is more than $62 billion in forgotten funds waiting to be claimed. In New York State alone, there is more than $13.3 billion in unclaimed funds waiting for its rightful owners and more than 31 million names on the list of owners of unclaimed funds and property. Each state maintains a database of accounts with the last known information about the account holder and the amount of the account listed as public information. Residents of New York can find this information on the website of the Office of the State Comptroller.
Where Does This Forgotten Money Come From?
These unclaimed funds may be from a wide variety of sources. Some people are owed money from previous employers or from a security deposit for a previous housing rental. Other people are due money from retail companies or unredeemed gift certificates. Unclaimed accounts also include safe deposit box contents, estate proceeds, and utility deposits. Some of the most common reasons for these funds going unclaimed are that people move without forwarding their mail or giving businesses a forwarding address, forget about a security deposit, or never pick up a final paycheck.
Banks, insurers, and other companies are legally obligated to try to find the rightful owners of deposits, dividend checks, and other forgotten money before it is turned over for inclusion on the list. Many of these accounts have been dormant for more than two years, meaning that there has been no activity on the account for that time or that the business holding the account has looked for the rightful owner of that account for that amount of time. In 2013, nearly $700 million in new accounts were added to the list in New York.
How Can I Claim Forgotten Money?
There is no charge to claim this forgotten money. You will be asked to verify your identity and the previous address where you lived when the account was created. The verification process can vary from state to state, so the website list for your state will provide instructions on how to claim any funds that is due to you. A search through the website for my state did not reveal any owed payments to me, but I did find that an aunt of mine was owed more than $200 from a previous job. She was very happy when I let her know.