You May Be Due a Refund - 1 in 10 Americans Are!

Have you ever thought that you have misplaced some cash? Are you stuck on hold while calling your bank? Desperate enough to hunt for change in the couch? Well the good news is that you may have unclaimed money.

Unclaimed Money?

Unclaimed property is anything abandoned by companies, banks or credit unions, often because properties or accounts have ceased activity after a length of time, known as "dormancy." After dormancy expires, properties are unclaimed and must be given to the state. Many people have property that should be theirs, to the point that 10% of Americans have unclaimed property.

The Types of Unclaimed Property

Unclaimed property can be either tangible, like the contents of safety deposit boxes, or intangible, things like stocks and uncashed payments. Other examples of unclaimed property include:
  • Annuities
  • Deposit slips.
  • Checking/savings accounts.
  • Customers's overpayments.
  • Life insurance payments/refunds.
  • Mineral royalties.
  • Refunds.
  • Stocks
  • Traveler's checks.
  • Trusts
  • Uncashed dividends/paychecks/money orders.
  • Security deposits on utilities.

Claiming Unclaimed Money

There are multiple types of unclaimed property and different ways to claim them. While no unified federal website exists, consider state databases. Remember that every state has its own laws and rules for handling such claims. When seeking unclaimed money, consider employers, insurers, tax refunds, banks, international sources.


With employers' money, like back wages, you can check with the Department of Labor. You might also consider the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to claim a pension if a company went out of business or ended a pension plan.


The two most common insurance sources for unclaimed property would be VA Life and FHA Insurance. While you can verify the former by checking the VA's database, it may not mention funds coming from SGLI or VGLI after 1964. You might also be due a refund from FHA Insurance, in which case you would check with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as HUD would handle any refunds.


The IRS and its website are where you would check for tax refunds.

Banking and Investments

The most common reasons for unclaimed funds from these sources would be:
  1. Bank or credit union failures.
  2. SEC claims funds.
  3. Savings bonds.
With failed banks, check with the FDIC. With failed credit unions, check with the NCUA. With unclaimed funds from the SEC, check with the SEC's website. Lastly, there are savings bonds that can be checked for bonds that have ceased earning interest at the US Treasury's website.

International Sources

Americans can be owed money from foreign powers. If you suspect a foreign claim, investigate it with the Treasury Department.

In Summary

If you have any financial accounts or properties that have gone untended for over a year, then it is turned over to the state and becomes unclaimed money. There are different sources of unclaimed properties and this means there are different routes you must take to claim yours when searching. This is a great place to start.