New York State Owes Billions in Unclaimed Property – Find Out if You Are Owed Money

Since 1943, New York state has accumulated over $10 billion in unclaimed money, which belongs to citizens and businesses throughout the state. It’s estimated that there are more than 23 million accounts, to date, that are currently unclaimed. The population of the state of New York is 19 million. This means that some people and businesses have more than one account.

It also means that some residents of other states are owed money in New York. After all, a large number of national and international corporations have headquarters in NYC. Even people who have never lived in the city or state can have unclaimed assets if they’ve worked for a company whose headquarters are in New York.

The state continues to receive hundreds of millions in unclaimed funds every year, and only manages to pay out about one-third of it. In the 2009 fiscal year, for instance, the NY Treasury Dept. received $653 million in unclaimed money, and paid out $227 million. More than 360,000 accounts were processed during that year.

What does the state do to get word out about all of this money? Representatives from the State Comptroller’s Office attend various events around the state on a regular basis. These events include festivals, fairs, meetings, and so forth. However, one can only wonder if NY truly is doing all that it can, considering it has more unpaid money accounts than it has people.

Where does all of this money come from anyway?

To date, here’s an overview of where all of New York’s unclaimed property comes from:

  • Banks – 31%
  • Corporations – 26%
  • Insurance companies – 12%
  • Brokers and dealers – 6%
  • Other / Misc. – 21%

The average claim amount is $50 – $100. The largest account that is still unclaimed, to date, is worth $1.7 million! Unclaimed property includes assets such as uncashed payroll checks, inactive bank accounts, unclaimed investments, unredeemed gift certificates and money orders, old utility deposits, safe deposit boxes and their contents, and so forth.

If you think some of this money might belong to you, you can check online by searching the state’s database. You can also call the Office of the State Comptroller and have them do a thorough check. In fact, the office might have more information than the website. If you can’t find anything out by doing your own search, you can call 1-800-221-9311.

If you do have money, you can fill out a claim form. Acknowledgement letters are generally sent out within 30 days of the State Comptroller’s office receiving the form. It can take up to 90 days for a claim to be processed, reviewed, and verified. Estate claims can take a little longer.

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