Most of us have had the experience of digging in our coat pocket to find a five-dollar bill we long forgot was there. That’s a little taste of what it’s like to find unclaimed money with the Mississippi Treasury. For years, it’s been pretty easy to find the money; but claiming it has presented a few more hurdles, until recently that is. This spring, I led the State Treasury in launching a new e-Claims system that makes it easier than ever to get ahold of your lost money in Mississippi.
Before we get there, let’s take a step back and answer the question most Mississippians have: What exactly is unclaimed money? Well, it’s funds that are turned over to the state when banks, credit unions, retail stores, and even your power company can’t figure out where to deliver the check! People move. Families lose touch. And the money just sits there.
After five years, financial institutions turn that money over to the state and my team is charged with finding the owner and returning the money. About one in 10 people have unclaimed money like this, so it’s a big job. But since I took office in January 2020, we have returned more than $27 million.
Despite the success, it was clear we could make the process even easier for Mississippians by giving them the option of doing everything online, so that’s what we did. You can now search for and complete your entire claim with a few clicks of the mouse.
There are a few clear advantages to this. First, Mississippians no longer need to hunt down a notary for a paper form, which we know was a deterrent for many – especially during the pandemic.
Second, because you are no longer required to send the forms via snail mail, your money is generally returned faster.
Finally, the e-Claims process is encrypted, meaning it’s arguably more secure than dropping this information in the mail.
Often times, Mississippians are able to recover $100 or $200 in unclaimed money, but other times the payouts can be significantly higher. We had one young man, for instance, who learned he had a missing inheritance totaling more than $90,000.
I hope you take an opportunity this week to search for any property in your name. Be sure to also check for the name of any businesses you own or any organizations or churches to which you belong. To begin, just visit Treasury.MS.gov/UnclaimedMoney.
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the state of Mississippi.