Database: Check if you have unclaimed funds
by: Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief\
ALBANY – New York is sitting on $14.5 billion in unclaimed funds, and some of it may be owed to you.
The state Comptroller’s Office collects all unclaimed funds from dormant bank accounts, outstanding business transactions and money left over from property sales. Some unused money from gift cards can also go into the pot.
If it’s unclaimed, the money ultimately goes into the state’s general fund, so the Comptroller’s Office encourages people to check online to see if any money is owed to you.
The account has jumped 21 percent over the past five years, up from $12 billion in the 2011-12 state fiscal year.
Through marketing efforts and more streamlined online claims, the amount of refunds has also skyrocketed: up 44 percent over the five-year stretch.
The amount refunded hit a record $452 million in the state’s last fiscal year, which ended March 31. More than 421,000 accounts were processed over the year.
“I’d like to think it’s the fact that we made more outreach, and we’ve made it easier to search online,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said about the increase. “It’s become a lot easier for people.”
The Albany Bureau for the USA Today Network annually creates its own database for people to check if they are owed money – in addition to the database managed by the Comptroller’s Office.
The Comptroller’s Office database can show whether you are owed money as little as $20 dating back to 1985.
The Albany Bureau’s database from the comptroller’s records shows whether you are owed as little as $3 since 1985.
There are more than 35 million accounts still unclaimed. The largest claim was in 2008: When $4 million was provided to an individual in New York from a stock claim.
Eighty-five percent of claims come through the internet, and more than 10 million searches are conducted annually.
The largest personal account still unclaimed is for $2.6 million, but 53 percent of the claims are for less than $100. Bank accounts make up about 38 percent of the unclaimed funds, DiNapoli’s office said.
“The reality is that there is still money that gets lost,” DiNapoli said.
The Comptroller’s Office said it has seen an increase in people making claims for their deceased relatives.