South Carolina Unclaimed Property Guide – Learn About the Palmetto Payback Program

In South Carolina, the Palmetto Payback Program collects outstanding and inactive financial accounts reported by businesses throughout the state. These accounts belong to individuals or companies who have not expressed any interest in it for a few years. People forget about their assets all the time. Sometimes they are not even aware of the fact that they are owed money.

Common types of unclaimed property include checking accounts, saving accounts, dividends, stocks, refunds, customer refunds, utility security deposits, insurance benefits, gift certificates, money orders, traveler’s checks, etc. These are all intangible property. The state of SC doesn’t include tangible property such as land, vehicles, or furniture as unclaimed assets.

South Carolina owes nearly $300 million to residents and businesses. Each year, the amount the state receives is significantly higher than the previous year. Unfortunately, the amount of unclaimed money SC gets each year exceeds amount the state gives back. Around half a million people are owed money in SC. This means that about one in eight residents are owed money.

The good news is that the State Treasury Dept. has been doing a lot of work with the Palmetto Payback Program. The number of individuals who are finally receiving their money is growing. For example, the number of assets returned in 2008 was a 47% increase than the number returned in 2007. Most of the money has gone to Richland County. Clearly, the state is upping the efforts in processing claims. The Palmetto Payback Program in active in getting the word out about unclaimed property.

Not all of the claims come from South Carolinians either. Some of the unclaimed property belongs to people in other states and even other countries! Just recently, money was paid out to a claimant in Japan! Whenever somebody does business with a company in South Carolina, or works for a company whose headquarters are in SC, that person’s unpaid assets are in SC rather than wherever they are currently.

South Carolina is a “custodian” state. This means that all unclaimed property is kept by the state until finally claimed. There is no limit on the amount of time potential owners can make a claim. There is a searchable database online available for anybody to use. It contains information about hundreds of thousands of unclaimed property accounts. Residents of South Carolina and other states can search to see if they have any money. If they do, they will receive instructions on how to claim it.

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