The Unclaimed Property Division (UPD) of the Department of State Treasurer (DST) returned more than $108 million to the rightful owners during the 2023 fiscal year, North Carolina State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, recently announced. That eclipsed all previous one-year totals as Treasurer Folwell continues to prioritize handing back missing money that, by law, was placed in the custody of DST’s escheats fund, commonly called NCCash.com.
“This is the second consecutive year we have set records for the amount of money we are putting back into the pockets of the rightful owners, and for the number of people receiving their missing money. But we are never satisfied to sit on our laurels. We’re already taking steps to set another record over the next year,” Treasurer Folwell said.
“We are in the check delivery business. We understand that during this time of economic volatility sending a check to a struggling single mother, a father working two jobs to feed his family, or a nonprofit organization experiencing a downturn in donations can make a tremendous difference in their financial situation,” Treasurer Folwell said. “It’s their money, and we are determined to work doggedly to ensure they receive it.”
NCCash.com is currently safeguarding nearly $1.09 billion in escheated funds, representing 17.7 million properties. The money is awaiting return to the rightful owners after being lost, misdirected or overlooked. More than 19 million owners are associated with those properties being safeguarded by DST.
For the 2023 fiscal year that ended June 30, UPD paid 193,319 claims totaling $108,586,650, both historical records for a one-year period. The previous records were set in the 2022 fiscal year when UPD paid 178,857 claims amounting to more than $105 million. By contrast, Treasurer Folwell said he has more than doubled the number of claims paid and nearly doubled the amount of money returned to the public since he took office in 2017. UPD paid just 91,912 claims totaling $56.2 million in the 2016 fiscal year.
“Thanks to my great staff and technology, we have been able to make some operational changes to increase our efforts in proactively locating owners of unclaimed property,” said UPD Deputy Treasurer Allen Martin.
“Processing a claim is normally an easy process, and staff keep the system humming and churning out checks in a fast-paced environment to get the money back to the owners as quickly as possible. Occasionally they are like detectives, handling and solving complicated claims and legal questions for their customers,” Treasurer Folwell said.
As part of his commitment to move more money out of NCCash and into the hands of its owners, Treasurer Folwell successfully pushed for passage of House Bill 1023, which created the NCCash Match program in 2020. NCCash Match allows DST to disburse claims through, a no-hassle, expedited system that eliminated paperwork processing, with a six- to eight-week turnaround target. Due to the first-year success, the treasurer championed another bill that raised the cap on the amount of money that can be returned to a claimant through the special program.
Under state law, UPD receives and safeguards funds that are escheated or turned over to DST. The unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned.
Unclaimed property can result from a person or entity forgetting they are due money or from a move of location and forgetting to provide a new address. It also could result from a typing error in a house number or zip code in an address, a name change, or data loss from a business converting its computer system. As society becomes more mobile and steadily moves to electronic transactions, the risk of having unclaimed property has increased.