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How to find and retrieve your unclaimed money in the USA

The author of this article and consumer technology radio show host Kim Komando claims to regularly help Americans get back their rightful money without much effort. How to do it, Kim told USA Today. Next - from the first person.

Photo: Shutterstock

Last year, Robert from Harrisonburg, Virginia, called my national radio show to thank me for asking him to look for unclaimed money. He discovered that his late mother had $ 24 in a bank account. He received the check three weeks after proving that he was the heir to her fortune.

One of my coworkers helped his mother find over $ 5000. She found two life insurance policies, retirement benefits and utility discounts left unclaimed in the names of her grandparents over 20 years ago. This year I was also lucky. I have three checks.

What is unclaimed property?

We can talk about any old bank accounts - yours or a deceased relative's, the contents of a safe deposit box, uncash checks, insurance policies, trusts, utility deposits, stocks and bonds, salary and notional accounts.

The best part: it's free. And this is yours. Helping ordinary citizens claim their unclaimed money is one of the responsibilities of the US Treasury Department. You are eligible for these funds.

You don't have to hire a dubious contractor or spend money to claim what's yours. If someone asks for payment to help you find an unclaimed property, refuse that person's services. You can easily do it yourself.

Start in your home state

Finding money is quite simple: the search starts where you live. Each state has an independent Treasury website that has a dedicated feature to find unclaimed contributions. But don't just google the site. The internet is full of scammers and it is likely that there will be bogus sites.

To find a link to your state treasury website, go to National Association of Unclaimed Property website... Select your state or province.

Each state's website is slightly different, follow the step-by-step instructions and enter your information and the database will do the rest. Oftentimes, these pages will print documents that you need to fill out to claim money.

On the subject: Large companies could owe you a tidy sum: how to get money

You will also need to provide proof of your identity and probably notarize your signatures. The processing time depends on each institution; it may take a couple of weeks or months, but it works.

Search Tip: If your name is often misspelled or has variations that are often confused (Schmid, Schmidt, Schmitt), look for these erroneous options on unclaimed funds sites. Also, don't forget to find all the aliases you used.

Search by country

Searching for a specific state can lead you to the MissingMoney.com national database site. If you have lived or did business in multiple states, this site will connect you to the relevant Treasury departments.

MissingMoney Is a free government search site. All the site asks for is your name and state (s) of residence. Living in multiple locations really makes it hard to find, so you might have to carefully review the results.

MissingMoney collects this financial data in one place. Make no mistake and don't think that your search ends there.

Look for life insurance benefits

The US Department of Veterans Affairs offers a search on its website for unclaimed insurance funds owed to current and former policyholders or beneficiaries. The search does not include funds earned under Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) from 1965 to the present. But it's definitely worth a try. Just find your last name on the site VA.gov.

On the subject: Unclaimed money: how much can Americans get in different states of the USA

Look for forgotten retirement funds

As you move from company to company in your career, your challenge is to see if past benefits or retirement savings can be transferred or cashed out. You may have money in a 401 (k) account that you forgot about.

National Register of Unclaimed Pension Benefits helps you find money from previous employers. You will be asked to enter your social security number to search. The site says it encrypts personal information and conducts regular security checks. It seems safe to me.

Don't forget about closed banks and investments

Banks are closing, as are other businesses. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) offers a special search to find out if money is left in your name with any failed financial institutions.

You can do a similar search for money left over in credit unions on the National Credit Union Administration website.

On the TreasuryHunt.gov You can find any redeemable savings bonds that have stopped paying interest.

Check Claimed Tax Refunds

The IRS may owe you money. Each year the IRS returns millions of dollars in taxes that go unclaimed.

If you think the IRS may owe you money, you can apply to the IRS to tell them your new address. Also, if your employer withholds your funds, the IRS gives you up to three years to apply to collect your money.

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