A record amount of unclaimed funds, totaling $347 million, were paid out to individuals and organizations in the state’s last fiscal year, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. This new record surpasses the previous year by $33 million. Currently, there is $12.5 billion in lost or forgotten money that is still waiting to be claimed.
"These are tough economic times and every dollar counts. Last year, we put more money back into the hands of rightful owners than ever before," said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. "This money belongs to New Yorkers and we want to give it back. I encourage everyone to check our website for their names and spread the word to family and friends."
In the interest of the public’s protection, banks, insurance companies, utilities, investment companies and many other businesses are required by state law to surrender inactive accounts to the Comptroller’s office. These accounts are known as unclaimed funds.
The majority of unclaimed funds, 33 percent, comes from inactive bank accounts. After three years of inactivity banks are required to send a letter to the account holder and in some cases post a notice in the local newspaper as well. If the attempts are unsuccessful the account is turned over to DiNapoli’s office for safe keeping. Unclaimed funds are held indefinitely until the rightful owner submits a claim.
About half of the 30 million accounts being held by the Comptroller’s office are less than $100. There is no cost to file a claim but individuals do need to provide proof of ownership.
New Yorkers can find out if they are owed some of the state’s $12.5 billion in unclaimed funds by visiting www.osc.state.ny.us or by calling toll free at 1-800-221-9311.