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During the 2015 fiscal year, the governments of each state collectively possessed $7.7 billion in unclaimed property and wages. Although the aggregated data for 2016 and 2017 aren’t yet available, some of this unclaimed money may belong to you, and if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to earn money, this is a huge boon. What is unclaimed property?

Unclaimed or abandoned property can be any account at a bank, insurance company, company employer, or any other service company you’ve used, that hasn’t had any contact with its owner for a year or more. Unclaimed property in your name may include uncollected payroll checks or wages, insurance payments or refunds, utility security deposits, safety deposit boxes, regular savings or checking accounts, or customer overpayments. Unclaimed property even includes mineral royalty payments, which are payments that are owed to you by mineral resource companies (think coal, oil or gas) if mineral resources are extracted from your property – either on the surface or underground.

State Legislation that Protects You

In every state plus Washington D.C, there are laws in place that make sure that the money that doesn’t reach you does not revert back to the company. Every year, companies who have lost touch with you are required to turn over your money to the state in which you were last known to live. The state actively tries to return these funds, both through awareness events and through the national database MissingMoney.com. If you go to MissingMoney.com, just type in your name and all the states you’ve previously lived in to see if money may be owed to you.

NAUPA

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) is a non- profit organization that works to raise awareness for unclaimed property programs and protect consumers. NAUPA’s website is called www.unclaimed.org, a visit to their site lets you search for lost property by state, as well as learn more about unclaimed property, read the news, and find other sources of unclaimed money that the government holds on to.

Other Sources of Unclaimed Property

Other government sources of unclaimed property besides states (and the affiliated NAUPA) include:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – The IRS may be holding on to an undelivered U.S. Federal Tax Refund if you have paid too much in taxes. If you go to the IRS website, click on “Where’s My Refund?” to get started collecting.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) – The FDIC is responsible for recovering any losses due to the collapse of a bank or financial institution. The FDIC insures bank accounts for up to $250,000. If you have had any money in an institution that went under, you are entitled to your deposit back.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – If you had a mortgage insured by the HUD, you may be entitled to a refund on the insurance premium you paid. To be eligible for this type of mortgage, the loan must have been issued no earlier than September 1, 1983. Additionally, you cannot have defaulted on any payments, and you must have paid the insurance premium upfront. You can also see if you are eligible here: https://entp.hud.gov/dsrs/refunds/

Even if you are not an American citizen, the governments in Australia and New Zealand have similar programs to help you recover lost funds. Banks in Canada, France, and Switzerland similarly hold on to your money and you can see the end of this NAUPA page for links to help you find it [https://www.unclaimed.org/other/]. So go ahead – what’s better than finding surprise money you didn’t even know you had?