State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, is reminding North Carolinians that Feb. 1 is National Unclaimed Property Day, an initiative to reunite Americans with billions of their own missing dollars that are being held for them in secure accounts.
Last year, to increase awareness of unclaimed property, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) launched the first National Unclaimed Property Day on Feb. 1. The organization is an affiliate of the bipartisan National Association of State Treasurers. Its members comprise the unclaimed property programs of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of /Puerto Rico and several foreign jurisdictions.
“As keeper of the public purse, I have a duty and loyalty of care to protect and preserve taxpayer dollars. But at the Department of State Treasurer (DST), we also are in the check delivery business, and one of the most rewarding parts of my job is sending checks to those whose money has been kept in secure settings, often unknown to them,” Treasurer Folwell said.
When a bank, company or other entity has property that belongs to someone who can’t be located, by law they must place it into DST’s custody until the rightful owner claims it. The property can be physical objects or financial instruments. That includes items such as rent or utility deposits the individual forgot to collect, unpaid insurance policy benefits, even forgotten bank accounts and stocks and bonds.
“Our Unclaimed Property Division (UPD) is working hard to put money back into the owners’ wallets,” Treasurer Folwell said. “We are slowly coming out of the damaging economic effects of the COVID lockdowns, and are now confronting rapid inflation. We have heard from many individuals, businesses, churches and charities that the money we are putting back in their hands makes a welcome difference in their financial circumstances. That’s why we have initiated new programs with the help of the General Assembly and continue researching other methods to speed up the process.”
NAUPA members returned more than $2.87 billion in unclaimed property to the rightful owners in fiscal year 2020, according to the latest NAUPA Annual Report.
In North Carolina, NCCash.com is the repository for approximately 18 million properties valued at roughly $919 million under DST’s custody. In fiscal year 2021, UPD paid 125,134 claims totaling $70.4 million, both all-time records. The average claim paid was $563. For the current fiscal year as of Dec. 31, UPD has paid 86,106 claims totaling about $50.1 million. Part of that total has been distributed through the new NCCash Match program, a no-hassle, expedited system that eliminated paperwork processing. As of Dec. 31, UPD has paid 54,960 claims totaling $19.1 million.
Kathleen Lobell, NAUPA president and director of Louisiana Unclaimed Property, encourages people who have moved from state to state to search ucpday.com to determine if a previous state of residence is holding their property. She recommends searching by your name, maiden name, family members’ names, church, business or civic clubs’ names.
DST’s Unclaimed Property Division receives and safeguards funds that are escheated, or turned over, to the N.C. Department of State Treasurer, according to state law. 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. More information, including how to find out if you are owed money, can be found at https://www.nccash.com/
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