I’d like to find a way to say “You may be owed money!” that doesn’t sound like spam. But I that’s the message, and it’s true, so here you go.
A few days ago a cousin-in-law told the extended family’s mail list about the North Carolina State Treasurer’s Claim Your Cash! program for recovering unclaimed property people don’t know about. That’s its graphic, above.
Since I lived for two decades in North Carolina, I filled out the very simple form on the site and found that I wasn’t owed any money, but that other relatives with the same surname were.
So then my wife found California’s Unclaimed Property Search page, run by the state Controller’s office:
Since I’ve been a California citizen since 1985, she thought we might strike some gold by filling out the form there. And we did: six unclaimed property results. Four of them were easily handled by filling out online forms. After a few minutes of that, checks from the state totaling about $840 were on their way to my mailbox. Of the remaining two, one was for $0, and the other (for about $50) required the added labor of printing out and mailing in a form.
Since I also grew up in New Jersey and lived there for awhile after graduating from college, I checked with that state’s treasurer’s office as well. They sent me to MissingMoney.com, which covers all states. It found nothing in New Jersey and “less than $100” in Massachusetts, where I also lived for a few years. That one has a smaller form. Like all the others it warns you to be absolutely sure about how you filled it out, because you can’t go back. In my case it told me my social security number was wrong, and then jumped me to a page that said “Your information has been sent to the state” before I could go back and re-try. (It either wants or doesn’t want dashes in the social security number. Dunno which.) So I don’t know what will happen there.
Still, if you’ve been an adult long enough to pay a lot of bills (especially to doctors and hospitals), or to hold an insurance policy, you may be owed money that has come into the possession of a state.
So check it out and see how you do.