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Where's My Refund: Is Some of the $58 Billion Unclaimed Money Yours?

Travelers Today       By    Antranig Dereyan

Updated: Jan 30, 2013 03:23 PM EST

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Everyone wises, dreams, they had free money-it doesn't have to be just a dream anymore. Currently, state, federal agencies and other organizations combined hold over $58 billion in unclaimed cash.

Whether it has to do with a discarded stock holding, bank account, pension benefits or even a neglected life insurance claim, the money, is up for grabs.

Further research shows that "more than $300 million in pension benefits is currently owed to some 38,000 people. The unclaimed benefits currently range from 12 cents to a whopping $704,621, with an average benefit of $9,100. Benefits may go unclaimed because an employee is unaware they had accrued retirement benefits at a previous employer," this according to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp and reported by CNN Money.

"Most of this money-about $41.7 billion, is in the states' hands," according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators and reported by CNN Money.

It is true, and though people feel the government (the people and system) are crooks or liars, the states do try, believe it or not, though newspaper and web advertisements, setting up booths at state fairs and functions.

If the money is still unclaimed, even with the states assure that the owners' claim to the money will remain valid, the money goes towards aiding different government projects.

"The money belongs to the owner in perpetuity. Even if the owner dies, then their heirs could come back and claim it," said Carolyn Atkinson, West Virginia's deputy treasurer for unclaimed property and a past president of National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, according to CNN Money.

Just this month, the Chief Financial Officer of Florida said "the state had received 61,271 new unclaimed property accounts worth more than $25 million as part of a settlement with insurance company AIG," according to Yahoo.

"Once it goes to the state, it's unlikely that the rightful owner will be found," said Mark Paolillo, a Massachusetts-based accountant and Ryan LLC's abandoned and unclaimed property practice leader, according to CNN Money.

To find out if one is owed money, just visit these sites below:

  •  "State-held unclaimed property:Visit NAUPA'sunclaimed.orgfor a map with links to each state's program.
  •  Life insurance:For benefits not held by the state, check the insurer's site directly. For example, MetLife has anonline search.
  •  Pensions:For Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. benefits, visit the agency's onlinesearch directory.
  •  U.S. savings bonds:More than 45 million matured savings bonds, worth nearly $16 billion, remain unredeemed, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. To search the database, visittreasuryhunt.gov.
  •  Tax refunds:In 2011, the Internal Revenue Service said it had $153.3 million in tax refund checks that were undeliverable. To make sure you've received your checks, visit the IRS'sWhere's my refund?tool.
  •  Overbid proceeds:If a foreclosed home or tax lien for delinquent taxes is sold at auction for a price above the money owed, the former property owner is owed the so-called "overbid proceeds," which are typically held at the country level. But, counties typically send notifications about the funds to the foreclosed address, so many people remain unaware of the extra cash, according to Mary Pitman, author of "The Little Book of Missing Money." These funds are different than other unclaimed funds in that the property owner's claim in some counties only last a few years. Contact the county clerk to find out which local agency holds the funds."

Taken from CNN Money.

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