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1 in 10 Americans is entitled money from the government

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, one in ten Americans is entitled to money from the government.

With approximately 328.2 million people in the USA, that means 32.2 Million People are entitled to collect money!  That is a lot of people!  And one of them is probably you or your close relatives!

 

How can that be and where does the money come from?

The money is the result of the government’s safekeeping money and property until the rightful owner claims it.  The money is often held by the State Treasurer, but the State Treasurer does not hold all of the monies and property.  Court systems, the US Treasury, and other government organs hold money and property on behalf of people.

In most cases, the monies can be claimed forever.  But, of course, the more time that goes by the less likely that money is to ever be claimed.  Eventually, people pass away and then their heirs can claim the money and property if they think to find it.

The most extreme example of this is unclaimed life insurance policies.  Under the law, as it exists today the life insurance company has to turn over the proceeds of unclaimed policies when the person who is insured would have turned 115 years old.  At that point in time even the children of that person are likely deceased and the only one who might search would be a grandchild or great-grandchild.

And realistically speaking, how many people would think to search for unclaimed property or money that was owed to their great grandparents!

So, the money tends not to be claimed, in fact, the ratio of claims versus funds held is that approximately 5.7% of the monies are claimed in any given year – and 94.3% of the money is not claimed!

As a result, the government held money is growing.  The growth rate is approximately two billion dollars per year.

How can I get my money back?

Sometimes people ask me if “they will get into trouble” if they claim the money.  The answer is “absolutely not!”  The money is yours and is being held for you. The government is not going to be angry with you any more than they would be angry if you filed your IRS taxes and asked for a refund of your overpayment!

My advice as a lawyer and as someone experienced in recovering unclaimed funds for clients is “go and get your money!”  You don’t get any brownie points or benefit from leaving the money with the government!

A part of this that can be tricky is finding the money.  Although the list of all places where the money is held is too exhaustive for this article, you can get some help from InLife Claims.  That is a private company that makes it easier to find money or property owed to you.  Searching is free and Inlife is a better way to start your search than individual government-run databases.  You should still look for money on your own but start with Inlife Claims because one search will cover more claims than any other website, I am aware of.

Here is why you should get your money from the government:

  1. In most searches, you will need to search in individual states via the state treasurer or comptroller’s site. Inlife has a combined database going across multiple states. One search on Inlife can cover more ground than going state by state, saving you time and effort.
  2. Inlife has a sophisticated search tool. In some state databases, the search tool is not too sophisticated.  Meaning that unless your search exactly matches the state record the record of the money or property held will not come up.  For example, in a state database with an old search tool, if you type in space differently than the data is on the database such as you type in “Linda Erickson”  and the property is under “Linda K. Erickson” then the databases may not return a match unless you include the middle initial.  Life has a more sophisticated search tool that is better at showing potential matches so you can find more of the money that is owed to you with less time and effort.
  3. The Inlife search service is free so you are not losing anything by searching on Inlife. You can always search for both Inlife and state databases.

 

Good luck!  Search yourself and your friends and family!  Chances are someone is owed some money!