There Are Billions of Dollars in Unclaimed Cash in the U.S. – Is Some of It Yours?
Right now in the U.S., there’s more than $58 billion dollars sitting around, waiting for citizens like you to collect it¹. That’s enough money for about $186 per U.S. resident – what would you do with that extra cash?
Millions of Americans are missing out on money that they’re owed, simply because they don’t know it exists. And you could be one of those people who’s owed significant cash.
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Wondering why so much money is sitting around, and how you can get your share? Here’s what you need to know about today’s unclaimed cash in the United States.
Where the Unclaimed Cash Comes From
How did all of this extra money wind up sitting around, unclaimed by those who deserve it? Well, it simply went unclaimed – people didn’t realize their money was missing.
As Today² explains, these unclaimed funds wound up sitting in financial institutions after having no activity for a year or longer. With no one accessing these savings or checking accounts, dividends, security deposits, IRS refunds, or other cash reserves, banks simply let them go unclaimed. Benefits, like pensions and retirement funds, are also sitting unclaimed.
And while this might seem like a rare occurrence, it’s actually very common. Many people have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars sitting around, waiting for them to claim it. CNN³ reports that over $300 million in pension benefits are currently unclaimed by 38,000 people. And the states are holding approximately $41.7 billion in forgotten funds.
All of this money is going unclaimed and unnoticed because they’ve been marked “abandoned.” Under state laws across the U.S., financial institutions and banks are required to hand over any abandoned money – like uncashed paychecks, forgotten bank accounts, unclaimed refunds, insurance payouts, and even safe deposit boxes – if they’ve seen no owner action in years⁴.
While the states then try to find the owners of this money, it’s often a difficult process. If you don’t know that your money has become abandoned, you likely aren’t looking for it, which makes the process even more challenging. The only way to get your money is seek it out and let the government know it’s rightfully yours.
How to Find Your Unclaimed Money
Are you owed money? Have your funds become unclaimed cash sitting in the government’s hands? It’s time to find out.
Here’s how you can seek out any unclaimed money that might be rightfully yours.
Search Your State’s Unclaimed Property Office
Because the majority of unclaimed money winds up in the state’s hands after a certain amount of time, your first step should be to search within your state. You can easily search your state’s unclaimed property office – many have online databases that let you search for your money by first and last name⁵.
If you find any money within your name (even if you’ve moved to another state), you’ll also be able to find rules online for how you can prove ownership and get your money.
Find Unpaid Wages and Work Benefits at the Department of Labor
If you have any unpaid wages, unclaimed employee benefits, or even an unclaimed pension, you can search the Department of Labor’s online database for your money. The Department of Labor will hold unpaid and unclaimed wages for all employees, and it’s also where any unclaimed pensions for companies that ended retirement plans or went out of business end up.
Check for Unclaimed Insurance Funds
If you’ve relied on government funds for different forms of insurance, you may have refunds or even insurance reimbursements waiting for you. When unclaimed, these insurance rebates, reimbursements, and refunds wind up with the federal government.
You can check with the Department of Veterans Affairs for any veterans’ life insurance money that’s gone unclaimed. If you took out an FHA-insured mortgage, you can see if you’re eligible for a refund through the Department of Housing and Urban development.
Find Undelivered or Unclaimed Tax Refunds
While tax refunds from your state and the federal government are typically mailed to your address, if you’ve moved or haven’t received a refund, your money may have been sent back to the IRS or your state’s government. And in that case, it’s sitting unclaimed, waiting for you to find it. To do that, you’ll just need to contact the IRS or your state government and ask about your missing refunds.
Search for Old Bank Accounts and Investments
Have any of your old bank accounts, funds, or investments become abandoned? If you haven’t accessed any accounts or investments in a few years, that’s likely the case. And you’ll need to track down the funds that were in those financial institutions yourself to get paid.
You can search for any money that might be sitting unclaimed through the following:
- The FDIC, which holds unclaimed funds from banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions that have failed.
- The SEC, which holds unclaimed money that’s owed to individual investors by companies.
- The U.S. Treasury, which holds the funds for unclaimed savings bonds that are lost, stolen, destroyed, or that have never been cashed out.
Don’t Let Your Well-Deserved Money Go to Waste
Billions of dollars are waiting for Americans right now. Even though you don’t realize it, you might have funds that are sitting unclaimed. And by searching for money that you’re missing, you could get that cash back. From employee benefits to old bank accounts to investments, your money is waiting for you to find it.
Take the time to search for your money now. Don’t let it sit unclaimed. With that money, you could put it to use for you, whether you’re saving or spending.