What Is Unclaimed Money in Illinois?
Unclaimed money refers to assets that have remained untouched for a specific period of time and are repossessed by the government or authorized private holders. Unclaimed money can include account balances, stocks, bonds, insurance policies, dividends, refunds, and public benefits. Illinois enacted the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act directing financial institutions to transfer the custody of unclaimed money to the State Treasurer's Office after a dormancy period.
It is not unusual for Illinois residents to forget about these financial assets or intentionally ignore them for a long time. When this happens, the financial institution with original custody of the money will reach out to the owner via the list means of communication, typically email, mail, or phone call. If there is no response, the financial institution will attempt to contact the individual's relatives.
State laws compel these financial institutions to turn over custody of the financial assets to the treasurer or an authorized private holder. These holders will assume temporary, non-owner custody of the unclaimed funds in perpetuity until a person submits a valid claim. As of December 2021, the Illinois State Treasurer's Office reports over 3.5 billion dollars worth of unclaimed property and unclaimed money, waiting for the rightful owners to submit a claim.
How To Find Illinois Unclaimed Money
The Illinois State Treasurer's Office maintains an official searchable database of unclaimed money. Searchers who visit the website can expect to find information about unclaimed money, including the owner's name, physical address, amount unclaimed, the financial institution that reported the unclaimed funds, and the type of unclaimed funds. Besides seeing information about unclaimed money, this platform also lets interested members of the public submit a claim and upload the necessary documentation in support of a claim. Persons who prefer to submit a claim another way, either mail claim or phone claim, may contact the State Treasurer's Office on (800) 961-8303 or send an email to the government agency via UPContact@illinoistreasurer.gov. Note that the State Treasurer's Office only attends to phone calls during regular business hours, and emails are also best sent during business hours.
Unclaimed money in the United States is public and can be accessed by anyone through official or non-governmental services. Third-party unclaimed money search engines are easy to use and deliver fast results not limited by geographic region. Users can typically search for unclaimed money through third-party search sites using just a full name or business name. However, because these sites are not government-sponsored, the availability and accuracy of results can vary.
How Do I Find Unclaimed Money For Free in Illinois?
The Illinois State Treasurer's Office's online unclaimed money database is free to use. Other free online resources exist for interested persons to find and claim unclaimed money in Illinois, especially if the unclaimed money is in the custody of a federal agency or a foreign country.
Unclaimed State Tax Refunds
Residents who overpay state taxes get reimbursed by the Illinois Department of Revenue. However, these tax refunds often go unclaimed. This happens when taxpayers don't check their refund status for several tax seasons. Likewise, taxpayers who intentionally postpone claiming refunds can have unclaimed state tax refunds. In any way, the taxpayers can check unclaimed refunds on the Department of Revenue's system using their social security numbers and full names. The portal lets persons with unclaimed state tax refunds claim the funds online.
Unpaid Back Wages and Salaries
The Wages and Hours Division of the Department of Labor uses administrative and legal means to ensure companies compensate workers who have been victims of wage exploitation and nonpayment. The division collects the funds from the erring businesses and pays to affected workers who file a claim after being notified. Workers who have unclaimed back wages and salaries may search the Wages and Hours Division's unclaimed money database. Alternatively, call the division on (866) 487-9243 or visit the local office in Illinois.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal entity that oversees the administration of voluntary pension plans for Americans who work in the private sector. The PBGC also steps in when retirees lose or risk losing their retirement benefits due to circumstances beyond their control, such as a bankrupt employer, mergers, and splits of their original companies. Concerned persons may use the PBGC guide to find unclaimed pensions or check the PBGC unclaimed pensions database. Alternatively, contact the PBGC at:
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
1200 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4026
Phone: (800) 326-5678
Unclaimed Veterans' Life Insurance Funds
The veterans' life insurance fund exists to protect the financial security of veterans, service members, and their dependents following disability, injury, or death after discharge or during active duty. Concerned individuals can find unclaimed insurance benefits by searching the Department of Veteran Affairs database or contacting the agency using the information below:
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
See local office directory
Phone: (800) 827-1000
Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds
In cases where an individual overpays their federal tax payment, the Internal Revenue Service reimburses these individuals via personal checks, savings bonds, or direct deposits. Still, many of these refunds remain unclaimed for years because the recipient missed the mail or forgot to cash the check. Illinois residents who wish to find unclaimed federal tax refunds may search the Internal Revenue Service refunds database. Alternatively, the taxpayer may visit the local IRS office or call the IRS helpline on (800) 829-1040.
Unclaimed Credit Union Deposits
Credit unions are financial institutions that offer traditional banking services to members. And as with banks, members must have an account with their credit union for receiving loans and making deposits for loan repayments. Yet, it is common for members to leave or forget about the money in their accounts for a long time. Members of credit unions in Illinois may search the National Credit Union Administration database for unclaimed deposits or contact the Administration via:
National Credit Union Administration
4807 Spicewood Springs Road, Suite 5100
Austin, TX 78759
Phone: (512) 231-7900
Fax: (512) 231-7920
Unclaimed Harmed Investors' Funds
The Securities and Exchange Commission is a federal agency set up to protect individuals who invest in US securities, stocks, commodities, derivatives, and other financial instruments. The agency also investigates fraudulent activities by corporations, brokers, financial advisors, and bookrunners. When investigating an entity for fraud, the agency seizes the entity's financial and non-financial assets. Suppose the entity is found guilty of securities fraud. In that case, the SEC shall set up a third-party funds administrator, whose responsibility is to liquidate these assets and distribute investors' money up to a certain amount. Investors who have been victims of securities fraud may search the US Securities and Exchange Commission database for unclaimed funds. Alternatively, visit the regional office or call the helpline.
US Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549
Regional offices directory
Phone: (202) 551-6551
Unclaimed Funds in a Foreign Country
US nationals whose property was nationalized by a foreign government are eligible to submit a claim for "covered losses." Individuals and relatives of persons who suffer bodily injury, loss, or property damage as a result of US military operations in a foreign country may check the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission database for these covered losses. Alternatively, contact the government agency on:
Foreign Claims Settlement Commission
441 G Street, NW, Room 6330
Washington, DC 20579
Unclaimed Matured Savings Bonds
Savings bonds are government debt sold to interested individuals and entities who want to receive consistent interest payments. Generally, bonds have a maturation date after which the bondholder may redeem the investment. When the face value of the bonds and accrued interests go unclaimed for several years after maturation, the investment firm or the US Treasury Department will report the funds as unclaimed. Investors and relatives of investors may find unclaimed bonds by searching the US Treasury Department database. Claimants may also call (844) 284-2676 and (202) 622-2000 or send an email to email@example.com.
Unclaimed Bankruptcy Funds
Bankruptcy is when a debtor seeks the aid of the courts to help escape debt. Liquidation is a common practice in many bankruptcy cases where a debtor's assets are used to repay creditors. A court-assigned trustee facilitates the liquidation and creditor repayments. However, the proceeds from straight liquidation or debt repayment often remain unclaimed by creditors for several reasons, such as death, uncashed distribution checks, and listing an invalid address. The court typically contacts the creditor, but creditors and relatives may check for unclaimed funds using the US Courts Unclaimed Funds Locator. Alternatively, searching parties can contact the bankruptcy court where the bankruptcy case was adjudicated.
US Bankruptcy Courts
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
One Columbus Circle, NE
Washington, DC 20544
Unclaimed Mortgage Refunds
Parties with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgage on their home could have unclaimed refunds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Persons who qualify can search the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for unclaimed premium refunds and share payments. Alternatively, contact the government agency at:
451 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20410
Phone: (800) 697-6967
How To Claim Unclaimed Money in Illinois
Claiming unclaimed money in Illinois is fairly straightforward. Parties can use the fully online database to search for assets and claim them one-by-one. A search for unclaimed money begins on the iCash Claim portal, a digitized official database of unclaimed money in Illinois. Here, searchers must provide the names of the owners of unclaimed money or the business name if applicable. Often, sole proprietorships and even LLCs often have unclaimed money in their business' name. Entering the search parameters and selecting the search button will scan the database and return the most relevant search results. A typical search result shows the owner's name, last known address, and amount of unclaimed money.
Next to each search result is a claim button. Once the searcher has selected all relevant instances of unclaimed money, they must then click the orange "continue to file a claim" button at the bottom of the screen. This action directs the individual to a pre-checkout page, where they must indicate a relationship to the unclaimed funds. The system will prompt the searcher to provide personal information and contact details upon showing their relationship. Next, the claimant goes through the routine stages of certifying the information provided is correct under the penalty of perjury.
The searcher must also upload supporting documentation, including a driver's license and applicable Illinois vital records. After this, the system sends the claim to an administrative staff who reviews and approves or rejects the claim based on the information provided during the application stage. If approved, the individual will receive a check for the equivalent amount of unclaimed money and any accrued interest if applicable. On the other hand, persons whose claims are rejected will have the opportunity to upload specific documents for administrative staff to reconsider the claim.
How Long Does It Take To Get Unclaimed Money in Illinois?
It depends on the volume of claims the State Treasurer's Office is processing at any time. Typically, the state agency processes claims within 90 days. This timeline also depends on whether the claimant is the original owner of the unclaimed money and provided the necessary supporting documentation. Third-party claimants and individuals who have to provide additional supporting documentation for review may face a slightly longer processing time as the state agency verifies the claim validity. This is to prevent unclaimed money fraud.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives in Illinois?
Persons who can claim unclaimed money from deceased relatives in Illinois include the deceased's immediate family members, surviving relatives — extended family members, such as nieces, nephews, parents, uncles, and aunts — and the legal representatives of these individuals. These individuals must provide supporting documentation in the form of Illinois vital records and court orders before the State Treasurer's Office will process the claims. The state agency provides additional information on claiming unclaimed money for deceased relatives.
What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Illinois if No One Claims It?
Unclaimed money remains in perpetuity until a person submits a valid claim. There is no deadline for claiming unclaimed funds in Illinois. And when an authorized individual finally submits a valid claim, the state agency or private entity acting as a holder will transfer the total value of the original funds and any accrued interests.
Can Someone in Illinois Claim Unclaimed Money From Another State?
Yes. It is common for Illinois residents to have unclaimed money in other states, especially if they have lived in those states or opened financial accounts in that state. These individuals must follow the state's process for finding unclaimed money and filing a claim.