If you’ve found yourself in a tight spot with money, you know it definitely doesn’t feel good.
Housing, food, bills, education, family needs… almost everything costs money!
However, it may still not be the time to crack open the good old piggy bank, as there may be some money hiding in plain sight.
This money comes in many forms, all of them commonly known as “unclaimed property“, and some of it might have your name on it.
If you’ve been keeping up with modern media, you’ve probably seen a couple of ads for unclaimed money, and they’re more than just a myth.
There may be some unclaimed money with your name on it lying around
Unclaimed property and money refer to “abandoned” property that once belonged to an institution or company.
The status of “abandoned” is usually achieved if a property is inactive for a certain amount of time. Known as a dormancy period, once it’s complete, the state acquires the property.
It is actually a legal requirement that a property is returned to the state after its dormancy period is over.
In fact, a recent report has shown that 1 in every 10 Americans has unclaimed property just waiting for them.
Experts on the matter divided the unclaimed property into two categories.
- Tangible property
- Intangible property
Tangible and Intangible Property
Intangible is the most common type of property reclaimed by the state, and it often includes stocks, uncashed checks, unpaid invoices, unused gift certificates, and more. Basically, anything that’s a non-physical property.
Tangible property, on the other hand, would be something physical, a property that can be touched, felt, and relocated.
An example of tangible property would be a deposit box, gold coins, medals, etc.
There are dozens of variations, but the most popular types of unclaimed property are usually:
- Security deposits for utilities
- Uncashed payrolls
- Trust distributions
- Mineral royalty payments
- Customer overpayments
- Savings accounts
- Checkings accounts
- Certificates of deposit
- Safety deposit box contents
- Insurance payments
- Traveler’s checks
- Uncashed dividends
- Unredeemed money orders
Even though there are dozens of other types of unclaimed property, the majority of it is intangible.
You can find more details on the official website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Finding this hidden treasure
Thankfully, looking for unclaimed property doesn’t include a map with an “X” that marks the spot.
Although the federal government doesn’t provide a website with an official tool to search for the property, you can still look through official state government databases to find the answers you’re looking for.
The biggest upside is that the entire process is free, and the NAUPA website will direct you to the right search engine.
Aside from the state tool, you can also look up unclaimed property based on its origin, such as:
- Tax refunds
- International sources
- Banking and investments
If you believe you’re due a tax refund, the place to start your search is the Internal Revenue Service.
For instance, on the IRS’ official website you can check if and how much they owe you just by typing in your information.
You can deal with this issue by going to the Where’s My Refund section on their website.
Alternatively, you can also try contacting the IRS directly to resolve the issue.
There’s a wide variety of unclaimed property that can come from insurance.
However, the two most common types are VA Life Insurance and FHA Insurance.
VA Life Insurance is related to the US Department of Veterans Affairs and has an extensive database.
Due to this, you can look for any unclaimed property related to this insurance using the department’s search engine.
Additionally, funds due from Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance from ’65 to the present aren’t included.
On the other hand, insurance from the Federal Housing Administration is on the official website of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
There’s more than one way to reclaim your money from past or current employers.
If it’s unpaid wages you’re looking for, the US Department of Labor is a good place to start.
This is because they may be able to recover any wage that your employer owes you if your employer broke any labor laws in the process.
Additionally, if you think your past employers owe you a pension, you can check out another database.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s website features a database search specifically for this scenario.
At times, Americans can suffer a covered loss in a foreign country, and they could have unclaimed property lying around.
If you believe that to be the case with you, you can head to the treasury.gov website to make your claim.
This is a website that the US Department of Treasury manages, and they also take care of the payments.
Banking and Investments
There are lots of cases where you could be owed money related to a bank or an investment you made.
However, common reasons for these unclaimed funds are:
- Credit Union Failures
- SEC Claims Funds
- Savings Bonds
- Bank Failures
You can look up any unclaimed funds related to a Credit Union failure at the National Credit Union Administration’s website.
As for Securities and Exchange Commission funds, there are often cases where a company owes its investors a fair amount of money.
You can check if you’re owed anything through the SEC’s official website.
If you believe you’re due any savings bonds, you should check if any of your bonds have matured and stopped earning interest.
You can do this by using the treasury.gov search engine, which the Department of Treasury manages.
Finally, if you’ve got any funds tied to a bank failure, you can claim them using the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation website.
If you’ve got any accounts or properties waiting around for far too long, They may become unclaimed.
The best course of action is to reclaim them.
Also, you can use this as a learning experience to stay on top of your finances.
In the end, once you’ve got a grip on your money, you’ll be able to organize it better.
Hopefully resulting in less money that becomes unclaimed!