Have you ever wondered if you had money owed to you that you just don’t know about? It sounds like something out of a movie, right? That a letter would appear in your mailbox, informing you of a big fat sum of unclaimed property with your name on it…
Well, the good news is that there is a chance that you have money sitting in a state treasury, just waiting for you to claim it!
The bad news is that the letter is never coming to your mailbox, so you need to go seek out that cash or property on your own. This money is called unclaimed property, and states are sitting on billions of dollars of it.
Ready to find out if you have unclaimed money in a state where you’ve lived or worked? It’s incredibly quick and easy to do. Here’s how:
Search State Databases
You will want to start your search for unclaimed property by checking with state treasury databases. Check all of the states that you have lived or worked in.
I was born and raised in Pennsylvania, so I started with PA’s website. I simply entered my name, and much to my surprise, I had some unclaimed property!
The site lets you know right away if the total amount is under $100, or more than $100. This helps you to keep your expectations realistic, too. Of course I was hoping that there was a secret stash of money owed to me that I just had no idea about, but unfortunately, I wasn’t going to become an instant millionaire.
You may not become an overnight millionaire, but you could have some extra cash just sitting there, waiting for you to claim it. It’s always nice to get unexpected money!
There were two separate items listed for me, and the total was less than $100 on each. The next step after searching the state database is claiming your cash.
Send in Your Claim Form
Now that you’ve searched your name and found a listing, it’s time to get excited and get to work. To receive your unclaimed property, you have to fill out a claim form. You may be able to do it online, depending on your state but others will require that you mail it in for processing.
Once I clicked on the items that were listed next to my name, I was asked if I could make a claim on the property.
Now comes the fun part- trying to figure out where this money is coming from! Since the money was reported by my former employer and my previous address was also listed, I knew that the money was in fact mine to claim.
Based on the info provided, I realized that this was likely money from paid time off that I had never used. For whatever reason, I didn’t receive the paycheck after I left the job.
I was then prompted to print out and fill in a claim form. I went ahead and filled everything in, then sent the form off through the snail mail.
The PA treasury gives you a claim number, which you can use to check the status of your claim right on their website. It’s very convenient! Once the form was received by the state treasury, my claim was processing.
Cash Your Check
It only took a few weeks for my claim to be processed. I received an email once it was completed, which informed me that the check was in the mail. Sweet!
Once my check arrived, I took it right up to the bank and cashed that baby. It wasn’t the millions that I had have hoped for, but it was something, and I had earned it!
Avoid the Scams
Be careful to avoid scams online related to unclaimed property. There are many websites out there that prey on unwitting visitors, attempting to make you pay for the service of searching databases. You do not need to pay a cent! Not to search or to claim your property. Always verify before sharing your sensitive personal information.
If you’re unsure at any step of the process, reach out to your local state representative. My current representative’s office is happy to assist residents in this area, and I’d bet yours is, too!
Always check directly from a state’s official treasury website to be safe. If you’re lucky, you could have missing money just waiting for you to come and claim it. Happy hunting!
Have you ever searched your name for unclaimed property? Did you successfully claim it?