(WETM) – What happens to your money if your name is misspelled on an important document? What if you change your address and it doesn’t get reported? Or what if you get a letter from the state about money that’s in your name?
These are just a few reasons you may have unclaimed funds you’re entitled to.
The New York State Comptroller’s Office says that it has over $17.5 billion in unclaimed funds just waiting to be distributed back to their rightful owners. Every day, the Empire State gets another $1.5 million reported in unclaimed funds. Similarly, in Pennsylvania, the Treasury Department says that one in every 10 residents has unclaimed funds waiting for them.
And in New York, so far in 2023, over $106 million of unclaimed funds have been distributed back to their rightful owners.
So what are unclaimed funds?
Several institutions, like banks, insurance companies, courts, and even corporations, are required to report dormant accounts to the government. New York says that usually, the time frame is a period of two to five years of inactivity before the money gets reported.
These accounts can include savings and checking accounts, CDs, court funds, dividends, estate proceeds, insurance policies, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and phone, utility, and security deposits. They can also include lost paychecks and forgotten accounts.
There’s no federal system to get your money, but each state has its own way to find and get your money.
On New York’s Comptroller site and the Pennsylvania Treasury site, you can simply search by name to see if there is unclaimed money. In NY, you won’t know the amount until after the state knows for a fact that you’re the rightful owner. In Pa., it provides a range (e.g. – “Over 100”).
You can also get tangible property returned. In Pennsylvania, this includes a physical vault that houses all sorts of items that have been left unclaimed.
So you’ve proved you’re the owner of the money, but when will you get it?
From there, the sites explain the steps to submit your claim to the money. In New York, the Comptroller’s Office says that when submitted online, your claim is usually processed within two weeks. If you submitted a claim by mail, it’ll take a little longer to process, sometimes up to 90 days.
Then, after your claim is done processing, you’ll usually get a check within two weeks after it’s processed.
Both New York and Pennsylvania warn residents about unclaimed fund scams. These may appear as an email or text that asks you to click on a link, charges you a fee, or asks you to give out personal information.