What can you expect after you find unclaimed money? We've broken down the process for you, so you know how to move forward to claim your money.
By Melanie Lockert
You've found unclaimed money — congrats! Feeling a bit richer already? Although you probably feel great right now after finding missing money, you still need to take steps to claim your property from the state and get it into your hands.
Read on to learn exactly what the steps are to claim money in your name. Note that if you are claiming money for your business or a deceased relative, the steps may differ.
Step 1: Go to the right website.
When it comes to claiming unclaimed money, the process can vary by state. In other words, there's no one-size-fits-all solution to getting your money. Even so, the first step to claiming your money is to go to the appropriate website.
The good news is that when you start your search for money using Credit Karma Unclaimed Money, we automatically point you in the right direction. Credit Karma will direct you to the applicable state's treasury or state controller's website, which is where you typically start the claims process to get your unclaimed money back.
For example, if you select California, you'll get referred to the California State Controller's Office's website where you can claim your unclaimed property.
Step 2: Get your documents in order.
If you've found missing money in your name and want to claim it, you'll need to verify your identity.
The requirements may vary by state, but some documents you need may include the following:
- A state-issued I.D., like a driver's license.
- Proof of Social Security number, such as a copy of your Social Security card or IRS Form W-2.
- Proof of the address associated with the property you're claiming, such as a utility bill.
- Proof of your current address
These documents help verify your full name and address to confirm you're the rightful owner of the missing money. Some states will accept copies of documentation, while other states will require originals.
Step 3: File a claim.
Once you've gone to the right website and have your documents ready, it's time for the fun part: Filing a claim so you can get your missing money.
The first step is to carefully read the claim instructions on your state-specific site. Some states don't allow for electronic submissions, whereas some allow you to file online if you meet certain conditions.
For example, residents of California can file online if the amount is less than $5,000 and they are the sole owner of the missing money. If the unclaimed money is owned by multiple parties, each owner needs to sign a Claim Affirmation Form and the money will be split among the parties.
If you can't file online, you'll need to mail a claim form along with additional documentation to verify your identity.
In some cases, if you're owed more than $1,000 and can't file online, you may need to print the claim form and get it notarized. Pro tip: Check with your bank; they may notarize it for free.
You then need to mail the form to the address specified in your state's claim instructions.
Here's a quick chart on how each state accepts claim forms:
Claims methods by state: Mail or online
Note: If you submit online, you may receive your funds faster. However, not every state allows you to submit a claim online. Even if you can fill out the claim forms online, you may need to send those forms and other documentation by mail.
|Alabama||mail claim form|
|Alaska||accepts online claims|
|Arizona||mail claim form|
|California||accepts some online claims|
|Colorado||mail claim form||Connecticut||mail claim form|
|Delaware||accepts online claims|
|Florida||mail claim form|
|Georgia||accepts online claims|
|Hawaii||mail claim form|
|Idaho||accepts online claims|
|Illinois||mail claim form|
|Indiana||mail claim form|
|Iowa||accepts online claims|
|Kansas||mail claim form|
|Kentucky||mail claim form|
|Louisiana||mail claim form|
|Maine||mail claim form|
|Maryland||mail claim form|
|Massachusetts||mail claim form|
|Michigan||mail claim form|
|Minnesota||accepts online claims|
|Mississippi||mail claim form|
|Missouri||accepts online claims|
|Montana||accepts online claims|
|Nebraska||accepts some online claims|
|Nevada||mail claim form|
|New Hampshire||mail claim form|
|New Jersey||accepts online claims|
|New Mexico||mail claim form|
|New York||accepts online claims|
|North Carolina||mail claim form|
|North Dakota||mail claim form|
|Ohio||mail claim form|
|Oklahoma||mail claim form|
|Oregon||mail claim form|
|Pennsylvania||mail claim form|
|Rhode Island||accepts online claims|
|South Carolina||mail claim form|
|South Dakota||accepts online claims|
|Tennessee||mail claim form|
|Texas||mail claim form|
|Utah||mail claim form|
|Vermont||mail claim form|
|Virginia||mail claim form|
|Washington||accepts online claims|
|Washington D.C.||mail claim form|
|West Virginia||accepts online claims|
|Wisconsin||mail claim form|
|Wyoming||mail claim form|
Step 4: Wait for your check.
Once you found missing money and submitted your documentation either online or via snail mail, you must now wait for your check to arrive.
Unfortunately, this can vary widely by state. It can take two weeks from the date you filed your claim, or more than six months in some cases. Sometimes, you may not know how much you're getting back.
Amy Oztan, writer at AmyEverAfter.com, applied for unclaimed money through New York State and got a pleasant surprise.
"The way the (New York) claims work, I didn't actually know what we were getting until the checks arrived," she says. "I assumed they would be very small, but we got three checks totaling almost $900!"
Oztan says the process was easy. "The claim forms asked some basic questions to prove our identities, and that was pretty much it," she says. "About 10 days later the checks all showed up. It really couldn't have been simpler."
If you are eligible for unclaimed money, be sure to follow the instructions provided by your state and submit relevant documentation. Depending on your claim and the specific state, it may be processed in a short time — or could take a while longer.
Whatever the case may be, it will be good to get your money back from the state — and back in your pocket.
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