How Much Unclaimed Money Does Pennsylvania Owe Its Residents?
There is good news for Pennsylvanians who are in need of some extra money: the state owes over a million people more than $1.5 billion! This is in the form of unclaimed or abandoned assets that citizens and businesses have forgotten about or lost track of. Around one in seven Pennsylvanians are owed money. Most accounts are just a few hundred, but every single cent counts in today’s economy.
The Pennsylvania State Treasury safeguards all of the money until someone comes forward to claim it. To date, more than $120 million has been paid out to 1.1 million residents. Some of the residents live in PA, and others live in other states. Residents of other states who work for, or invest in, companies headquartered in PA are sometimes owed money by the state of Pennsylvania. Most of the money belongs to citizens and businesses in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
How do these assets become lost? People simply lose track of their assets all the time. Sometimes they never even receive checks or refunds because they move or change their names. Whenever they move away, the financial institutions or businesses who owe them money are unable to successfully send them their money. Also, some people have money in the bank and never get around to doing anything with the account.
The Treasury Dept. holds seminars regularly throughout the Commonwealth in order to educate businesses about the Unclaimed Property Act. This makes it easier on companies to report information about inactive accounts. The sooner the state gets a hold of unclaimed assets, the faster it can return it all to the rightful owners or their heirs.
PA maintains an online database consisting of information about all accounts worth more than $50. Some newer accounts aren’t listed, however. Those who can’t find any information during an online search can file an inquiry form or even call the State Treasury Dept. at 1-800-222-2046. Sometimes heir finders can help people find missing money, although not all of them are legitimate. Hence, it’s important to make sure a locator is honest before dealing with him/her.
The state government is trying to promote the Unclaimed Property Act online and through newspapers. Sometimes representatives even post on public forums, informing everyone about the Act. Those who find that they have money can file a claim and mail it in with documents such as an ID copy, social security copy, proof of address, etc. It can take up to 60-90 days for a claim to be processed by the state.