You may be surprised to learn that there is money waiting for you! But, since so many people don’t know they’re due to this unclaimed property it can easily go unnoticed. Luckily the process of claiming your share has never been easier than now with our modern technology-driven world which makes everything just a little bit faster and more convenient – particularly when we’re talking about getting rewarded after years spent working hard at something meaningful like making ends meet or saving up funds towards retirement.
WHAT IS UNCLAIMED MONEY?
There are many people in the United States who have lost track of their property over time. This can happen for a variety reasons, but one major cause is when they stop making payments on debts or accounts that may arise from something like an auto accident where there was no insurance coverage available to them at all (and therefore nothing left behind). In these cases alone 1 out 10 American citizens could potentially be sitting on top unclaimed funds waiting until someone finds it, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY
Unclaimed property is any item that has been left behind by a former owner. There are two different types of unclaimed properties, intangibles like stocks and uncashed checks which can’t be touched or seen to validate their existence; then there’s tangible items such as safes deposited in banks with no one claiming them since they don’t know what might be inside! Unclaimed property comes in a number of common forms, including:
- Checking accounts
- Customer overpayments
- Certificates of deposit
- Contents of safety deposit boxes
- Savings accounts
- Mineral royalty payments
- Traveler’s checks
- Payments or refunds from insurance and life insurance policies
- Uncashed dividends
- Money orders or gift cards that have not been used (in some states)
- Trust distributions
- Security deposits for utilities
- Uncashed payroll checks
HOW COULD YOU FIND MONEY TO CLAIM?
Finding unclaimed property is not as hard as you would expect. There are multiple ways of finding unclaimed property based on its source because there are a lot of different types. Plus, there is a vast search feature you may use to help you out. Even though there isn’t a specific federal government website you can use to look for any property or money you might have claims to, there’s still other options to consider. You could find a property by searching official state government databases for free. To find the appropriate search engine for your state, visit the NAUPA website. Do not forget every state is different and may have different guidelines.
There are a handful of methods you might use to approach current or previous employers to claim the money they owe you. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) may be able to help if you’re looking for wages you never received at all. If your employer has violated labor regulations, they may be able to get back any outstanding salaries. You can search the DOL website for employees who have money they could claim if you believe you are eligible for back wages.
Additionally, there is another website you can check if you believe you may be up for a pension from previous employers. If a corporation goes under or gets rid of a specific benefit pension plan, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) can help individuals find pension payments that are theirs legally.
Although there are many different insurance related types of unclaimed property, the two most sought-after insurance types are VA life insurance and FHA insurance. You can search the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) database for unclaimed property correlated to VA Life Insurance. However, the database will not contain anything that may be owed from Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) since 1965.
You may also find out that FHA insurance could owe you money. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which includes the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), would be the who oversees issuing refunds. Searching the HUD database is how you find unclaimed refunds.
Contacting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is how to figure out if you are owed a tax refund. Visit their website, to see what you may be able to claim.
BANKING AND INVESTMENTS
There are many circumstances where you could find money waiting to be claimed by you. This type of money usually comes from the following sources:
- SEC Claims Funds
- Credit Union Failures
- Savings Bonds
- Bank Failures
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) allows you to find out if you have any money in case of bank failures. Secondly, the Nation Credit Union Administration (NCUA) allows you to search for unclaimed money in the case of failed credit unions.
There could be enforcement cases for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) funds that are unclaimed where a business still owes their investors’ money. You can check whether you are owed money through the SEC website. Finally, people may be owed money on savings bonds. Visit the Treasury Hunt website to see if there are any matured savings bonds no longer earning interest.
Americans sometimes find out they can claim funds from foreign governments. The United States Department of Treasury made a site to make this simple for you.
In conclusion, if you have any financial accounts or properties that have been inactive for over a year, the property is released to the state. It becomes unclaimed money after that happens. This is unclaimed money, not free money.
There are many types of unclaimed properties you probably were unaware of. In fact, there are plenty of sources to investigate to find unclaimed money. You should try checking with previous employers, insurance, tax refunds, or maybe bank accounts.
Keep in mind managing your finances carefully, that is a big takeaway. Don’t forget to always keep your address and contact info up to date!