How to Recover Unclaimed Money From the Government


Right now, federal and state governments could be holding on to money that is yours. When a company cannot locate you in order to return money owed, the company will turn this money over to the state government. The money sits there collecting dust until you realize you are missing it. This is most likely to have happened if you have moved without leaving a forwarding address. It's your money, so do what you can to get it back.

Search for unclaimed money in the states in which you have lived. Each state has its own Web site to search for unclaimed money, but you can also use the official government version at, which directs you to the appropriate state Web site. There are other Web sites that supposedly aggregate the data from each of the state's Web sites, but the best way to search is to go direct to the source. When you visit the Web site, be sure to check possible variations of your name, especially if you've changed your name.

Fill out any forms on the state's Web site. If you've found that a state is holding money on your behalf, follow the specific instructions for that state. Download the forms and fill them in with your information.

Send the forms and any additional information requested to the correct address. On the form, you'll find an address to send the form. The state may also require you to show proof of identification.

Follow up if you don't receive your money. If you haven't received your money within six weeks, follow up with the state's Treasury Department.

Search the federal government's sites for unclaimed money or property. The federal Web site at lists a number of ways that you can search for money owed, such as pension funds or mortgage insurance.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful of companies that try to charge you to find unclaimed money. There is nothing these companies will do you cannot do for yourself.

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