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State Trying to Match Money with Owners

New law requires employers to turn over unclaimed paychecks to the treasurer’s office, which adds to the $1.5 billion unclaimed cash the state is holding.

Most everyone needs money these days, and looking everywhere for it.

One place to check is the state treasurer's office. The Unclaimed Property Division currently has $1.5 billion in cash, plus the contents from Illinois bank safety deposit boxes that have been abandoned for at least five years. The Cash Dash program helps reunite owners with their unclaimed property. Also, a new state law now requires employers to turn over unclaimed paychecks to the treasurer’s office after the paychecks have been abandoned for one year. The law previously required paychecks to the treasurer’s office after five years.

“My hope is that this change in law will give Illinois residents quicker access to their unclaimed or lost checks,” said State Treasurer Dan Rutherford about HB 1560 in a prepared statement. “Without reducing this period, many people may not know they have another paycheck waiting for them since they would traditionally contact the treasurer’s office for unclaimed property.”

On average, the treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division receives around 37,000 unclaimed paychecks per year, which amount to about $5 million. Unclaimed paychecks account for 3 to 4 percent of the Unclaimed Property Division’s total remittance. 

“Sometimes people will leave a job and just flat out forget that they have another paycheck coming to them,” Rutherford said.

On average, the Cash Dash program returns about $80 million dollars annually to owners. It is common for people to lose track of their assets when they move or when loved ones pass away. Businesses and banks are required to turn over unclaimed accounts to the treasurer's office. Some examples of unclaimed property currently held by the treasurer's office include the following:

  • Money in inactive savings and checking accounts,
  • Unpaid wages or commissions,
  • Stocks, bonds and mutual funds,
  • Money orders and bill overpayments,
  • Paid-up life insurance policies and
  • Safety deposit box contents.

To find out if you have unclaimed property through Cash Dash, you can also visit the treasurer's Web site at treasurer.il.gov and follow the Cash Dash link. The Web site is updated weekly to reflect new properties remitted to the office. Additionally, Cash Dash teams conduct regular outreach across the state, place twice-annual inserts in major newspapers and send direct mail to new single-owner claimants with property worth more than $100. Contact the Unclaimed Property Division by calling 217-785-6998 or emailing info@cashdash.net.

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