Wednesday, March 11, 2009
MY UNCLAIMED MONEY
The other day I'm reading a story about all of the unclaimed money sitting in the state of New York's bank that could be mine. The state Treasury department's website notes that "billions of dollars" in unclaimed funds are available to their rightful owners. Each state has an "Unclaimed Funds" division. It's coffers are loaded with money from closed bank accounts, unclaimed payroll checks, over-balances and other assorted lost funds. Each state also runs a website where you can see if your name's on the list and it allows you to fill out a form on line to claim what's yours.
So I typed in George Weber. It asked for an address, but I figured I'd do a broad search first. I scrolled down and there I was. The entry indicated that a have a payroll check waiting for me from my previous employer while living at a different address. The Treasury department's website has a picture of a guy from Onondaga County in upstate New York being handed one of those bigger than life cardboard checks, like the ones they hand lotto winners, from the state Comptroller. It was made out for $13,000. That's a lot of money.
But, before I got all worked up and excited over the prospect of collecting my big ass check, I remembered a few years ago checking the the rolls at the unclaimed funds departments of three other states I lived in before moving to New York.
I spotted my name on the list in Colorado, filled out the paper work and then was informed, they were holding $11.25 of interest left over in an old bank account I had closed in Denver. Rather than bother with the additional paperwork, I ditched the money. It's still there, I suppose.
About a year ago, a friend of mine looked up his name here in New York and discovered, he too, had some unclaimed funds. A few weeks after filling out the online forms, but uncertain as to how much was heading his way, he received a check in the mail for .09 cents. Some states tell you right away on their websites how much money you're getting back. New York, however, keeps it a mystery until either they contact you via email or you receive a check in the mail. I can't imagine my check being that large. How could it? Don't you think most people would know that they're missing money? My friend, Ron Kuby, the civil rights lawyer and liberal talk show host, had some unclaimed money. He figured it was payment for services that somehow got lost in the mail. I'm not sure if he ever retrieved that money.
So why not go for it. Do a Google search for "Unclaimed Funds" in what ever state you reside. Or, try going to your state's Treasury department website. In New York, you can find it here: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/ouf/index.htm