The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jun. 22, 2024

Guest column: unclaimed funds

By Jarrod Clay

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Unclaimed Funds is currently safeguarding approximately $4 billion in unclaimed funds that is waiting to be claimed. Last year alone, Ohioans were able to put more than $139 million back into their pockets.

Unclaimed funds are lost or forgotten money that businesses and banks report to the Division of Unclaimed Funds after accounts become inactive, typically between 3-5 years. The money can come from inactive checking and savings accounts, refund/credit balances, uncashed cashier’s checks, stocks and bonds, forgotten utility deposits and final paychecks.

While this money can be claimed with just three simple steps, there are some common misconceptions when it comes to claiming Unclaimed Funds. The Division hopes to dispel these myths to encourage more Ohioans to claim what could be substantial funds.

You must pay to file a claim: False – It is 100 percent free to claim your unclaimed funds. While there are finders registered with the State of Ohio who charge fees for helping recover your funds, you can easily claim them for free on your own. In the event you need assistance, experts with the Division are available to walk you through the claims process.

Unclaimed Funds expire over time: False – unclaimed funds never expire, and the Division will continue to safeguard that money until it is claimed by the rightful owner or heir.

You’re careful with your finances so you don’t have unclaimed funds: False – One in seven Americans currently has unclaimed funds in their name. These unclaimed funds can come from a wide range of places, so even those who are on top of their finances could potentially have missing money they are unaware of.

You’ve claimed unclaimed funds in the past, so you don’t need to check again: False – Ohio businesses are required to report Unclaimed Funds on an annual basis, so even though you may have claimed missing money in the past, it’s possible that additional unclaimed funds belonging to you could be reported. That’s why it’s important to search for your missing money on a regular basis.

You should only search for your own unclaimed funds: False – The Division encourages Ohioans to search not only for their unclaimed funds, but the unclaimed funds of friends, family members and loved ones. That way, if you discover they have missing money, you can let them know. It’s also important to search for unclaimed funds that may belong to family members who are deceased so necessary steps can be taken to acquire those funds.

Securing Unclaimed Funds in Three Easy Steps

Ohioans can quickly and easily find and claim their unclaimed funds by taking three easy steps:

  • search for money at unclaimedfunds.ohio.gov
  • gather the required supporting documents
  • send the information to the Division either online or by mail.

If you need any additional help, the Division of Unclaimed Funds has a number of video resources available to watch by clicking here.

POSTED: 04/25/24 at 9:05 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions