CHARLESTON (WVDN) – State Treasurer Riley Moore announced his office returned $18.6 million worth of unclaimed property to individuals, businesses and government entities during the past fiscal year – a new record-high amount returned by the state treasurer’s office.
“We’re thrilled to announce this record-breaking amount of funds returned to its rightful owners over the past year,” Moore said. “This is thanks to our constant outreach to raise awareness of this program, as well as the tireless efforts of our staff to reconnect people with their lost funds. This money belongs to the people, and we work hard every day to return it to them.”
The Unclaimed Property Division returned $18.6 million during the 2022 Fiscal Year, which ended June 30. That was up from $16.5 million returned during the 2021 fiscal year, and more than $500,000 higher than the previous payout record of $18.1 million set during the 2018 fiscal year.
The $18.6 million was paid out through 19,054 claims filed with the office, connected to 59,503 total properties – both also record highs for the number of claims and properties processed by the office during a fiscal year.
Moore said his office is constantly looking at new, innovative ways to both raise awareness of this program and reconnect people with their lost assets.
He recently announced a new “West Virginia Cash Now” program that will automatically send checks to individuals whose identities and addresses can be verified in existing legal databases – without the need to file a claim with the office.
The program covers individual claims valued between $100 and $5,000. The office has already started to send letters notifying individuals they will be receiving funds through the program, with checks expected to be delivered in the fall.
“We believe the West Virginia Cash Now program will revolutionize how we return unclaimed property in the state, and I expect us to start setting more records in the future,” Moore said.
Moore said his Unclaimed Property Division has more than 3 million listings valued at more than $300 million. With rising inflation and an uncertain economic growth outlook, he said it’s more important than ever to ensure people are reconnected with their lost funds.
“That’s why my office will continue doing everything it can to reconnect hard-working West Virginians with any lost assets they may have out there in their name,” Moore said.
Treasurer Moore encouraged West Virginians to visit www.wvtreasury.com and click on the “Search” button to see if the office is currently holding any assets in their name.
What is Unclaimed Property?
Unclaimed property can include financial accounts or items of value in which the owner has not initiated any activity for one year or longer. Common examples include unpaid life insurance benefits, forgotten bank accounts and unused rebate cards. (While the title includes the word “property,” it does not however include real estate.)
West Virginia’s unclaimed property laws protect the public by ensuring money and property owed to them is returned to them, rather than remaining permanently with financial institutions, business associations, governments and other entities. The Treasurer seeks to reunite the unclaimed property, including uncashed paychecks, stocks, or safe deposit box contents, with its owner.
Nationwide, nearly 33 million people in the United States – one in every 10 – are estimated to have unclaimed property available for them to claim.
How Can I Find Unclaimed Property in My Name?
West Virginians searching for lost financial assets can go to www.wvtreasury.com, then click on the large Unclaimed Property “Search” button to the right of the page under the heading, “Are We Holding Your Money?” In addition to finding property, the www.wvtreasury.com website will also help you track a claim.
A demonstration of how to use the Unclaimed Property search site is available on the Treasury’s YouTube page, at: https://youtu.be/ K09yQ7YNKlE.
To search for lost financial assets outside West Virginia, visit www.FindMyFunds.com or w ww.MissingMoney.com.