Illinois News

Law speeds return of unclaimed property

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs holds a news conference Tuesday at Quincy City Hall to announce the "Money Match" program that returns unclaimed cash to many people who file income taxes in Illinois, without the need to file papers. | H-W Photo/Doug Wilson
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 11, 2018 9:10 pm Updated: Sep. 11, 2018 11:22 pm

QUINCY -- Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said about $12 million will be sent in the next few weeks, returning unclaimed funds to Illinois residents.

"In Adams County, we're sending $38,880 to about 189 rightful property owners," Frerichs said.

The new "Money Match" program will allow these claims to be paid without the owners filling out papers or filing a claim. Frerichs said much of that has been streamlined for anyone who sends in Illinois income taxes.

"We went out and pushed for this new law. It went into effect in January and allowed us in this tax cycle to work with the Department of Revenue to match people's Social Security numbers and addresses and send checks out," Frerichs said in a news conference Tuesday at City Hall.?Illinois has more than $2 billion in unclaimed property that is managed by the treasurer's office. Frerichs said unclaimed property can come from many sources. Life insurance policies account for more than $500 million in unclaimed funds. Safe deposit boxes that have lapsed often hold cash, valuable coins, jewelry or stocks. Utility companies that require a safety deposit when people move into a house or apartment may not have a forwarding address to send the money once someone moves. Rebate checks often are discarded when they're mistaken for junk mail.

"In Adams County alone there's more than $7.5 million in unclaimed property," Frerichs said.

Although the new program is automatic, it has limits. It can be used when there is $2,000 or less in cash, and there's only one owner. For larger amounts or in cases where more than one owner is named, the property must be claimed through the treasurer's database at icash.illinoistreasurer.gov.

Last year the treasurer's office returned a record $180 million in unclaimed property. Frerichs expects a record will be set this fiscal year.

"We want to return this money and have an impact on the local economy," Frerichs said.

Other types of property also are handled by the treasurer's office. Frerichs said in the four years he has been state treasurer, six Purple Heart medals have been returned to veterans or their families.

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