Ohio’s Unclaimed Funds Division Owes More Than a Billion Dollars to Residents

The Ohio Department of Commerce is in charge of the Unclaimed Funds Division. Citizens and businesses in Ohio who have inactive accounts with businesses and financial institutions are allowed to fill out claim forms if they express an interest in their dormant accounts. The Unclaimed Property Division was enacted in 1968 for the purpose of protecting those who lose track of their assets. Holders are required by law to report unclaimed accounts to the state every year.

Ohio is one of the few states in which more than a billion dollars are owed. Approximately one in three Ohioans is owed some money. To date, hundreds of thousands of accounts have been paid out to the rightful owners. Each year, an average of 200,000 more accounts are turned over to the state, making it difficult for the Unclaimed Funds Division to clear out all of the accounts.

More than 4.5 million accounts still need to be paid out. What, if anything, is Ohio doing to reach out to the owners? Every year, the Dept. of Commerce publishes advertisements in publications in all 88 counties. The advertisement lists the names of all $50+ account owners who were reported the previous year. Most of the accounts are from individuals and businesses in Columbus and Cincinnati.

Unfortunately, the state still has a long way to go in order to pay out every single account. But since hundreds of thousands of more are reported every year, there will always be unclaimed money held by the state. Where does this money come from, anyway?

Unclaimed property can include:

  • Inactive checking accounts
  • Inactive savings accounts
  • Utility deposits
  • Rental deposits
  • Uncashed money orders
  • Uncashed Traveler’s checks
  • Cash dividends, stocks, mutual funds, and bonds
  • Certificates of Deposits
  • Payroll or benefit checks
  • Safety deposit boxes

A certain number of years has to pass in order for any of the above to be considered “abandoned” or “unclaimed”. Financial institutions and companies must give the assets to the state after a certain amount of years has passed. This amount of time varies from asset to asset, although 3-5 is usually the norm.

You can find out if you have any unclaimed money by searching the site’s online Treasure Hunt. You can also call the Division of Unclaimed Funds at 877-644-6823. Keep in mind that some of the accounts belong to former residents, so even if you or your family live in other states now, you can still search Ohio’s database. If you do have any unclaimed money, you will be given a claim form to fill out and send in.

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