Texas holds billions in unclaimed money

Local News
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The state is sitting on about $4 billion in unclaimed property and chances are some of that money belongs to you or someone you know.

“It’s easier than people think to have 50 bucks, 100 bucks here and there go missing,” said Chris Bryan, spokesperson for the State Comptroller’s Office.

All that money adds up fast but most people don’t even know what they are missing. The majority of the billions of unclaimed dollars came from checks that never got cashed.

“It always surprises me how much money the state holds in unclaimed property. It’s an astounding figure to think $4 billion is sitting with the comptroller’s office waiting to be claimed,” Bryan said.

Abandoned bank accounts, insurances premiums, or an inheritance people didn’t know they were supposed to get are turned over to the state when the beneficiaries can’t be found.

“A lot of cases it’s not so much forgetting, they just weren’t aware that they had something,” said Bryant Clayton, supervisor of unclaimed property at the State Comptroller’s Office.

People move, addresses change and some even forget to get back all the deposit money put down for utilities.

The money comes from a variety of places and companies can’t keep uncollected funds for more than a year.

The State Comptroller’s Office collects the money and holds it until the rightful owner comes forward.

There is no time limit to make a claim and the state never takes ownership of the money, in fact, the State Comptroller’s Office is trying to get rid of it.

“It is a fun job, we do get a lot of people who are very excited that we are holding funds for them and are very excited when we can pay that money back to them,” Clayton said.

Handing out money should be an easy job but the challenge comes in tracking down the right recipients—so the funds sit in accounts run by the state and collect interest.

To see if any of those billions belong to you, go to ClaimItTexas.org to search the online database.

“Just search for your name and chances are you’ll find some unclaimed property,” Bryan said.

The State Comptroller’s Office distributed more than $200 million in the last fiscal year but more than twice that amount—about $550 million—of unclaimed property came in.

“While it does come in a little faster than we can get it out, our goal is to always to return as much of that property as we can,” Clayton said it’s a public service and people deserve to get their money and many people need it. 

“It’s heartwarming is what it really is,” Bryan said, “this money is a family vacation, maybe a college fund, but it’s great to see people who need it, use it.” 

Bryan said you don’t have to be a millionaire to have unclaimed property, the dollar amounts vary but every bit counts and all people have to do is check to see if any of that money belongs to them.

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