Find how to search for free for unclaimed money that could be in your name.
Maybe the best way to think about “unclaimed money” is thinking about it as a “lost and found”. There are ways to check, for free, if there is any unclaimed money out there in your name. Find how and where to look below. It can be an old security or utility deposit, uncashed checks (even paychecks) that were in your name, stocks or bonds, social security benefits, insurance policies and more. It could even be something that you do not know about, such as maybe some company mailing you a reimbursement check that was lost in the mail. That too is unclaimed money.
If you're short of funds and find yourself thinking that it would be nice if you could somehow get back the security deposit that you left with the utility company when you last move, there could be a way. Or social security benefits that the government owes you or your spouse/child. There are many other ways to search for free, unclaimed money that may be in your name in many places. What follows are some ways that you could try to regain access to these kinds of funds.
The government runs free to use lost-and-found departments for just about every kind of unclaimed property. The data is extensive….even something sounding as you could be in luck if you found a long-forgotten key to a safe deposit box when you were cleaning up, and have no idea which bank the box is in. All you need to do is to go to the website of the agency concerned, look up your name on their list, fill out a claim form, have it notarized, provide ID, and retrieve the missing assets.
Where to look for free unclaimed money
What kind of money or even lost property to your name could be out there if you started looking? It can be an old bank account, a loved ones pension or insurance, funds from a class-action lawsuit or really anything. Or social security for senior citizens, a retiree, or disabled person. What follows are several examples and how to search for free.
Money or property held by state or federal government repositories
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators has said that it holds tens of billions of dollars' worth of unclaimed assets. Every state has its own repository. These assets may include unclaimed bank deposits, stock market holdings, insurance money, and security deposits, among other things. They may also include money from the sale of unclaimed stocks and bonds, and safe deposit boxes.
When you wish to look for unclaimed property that you may be entitled to, you only need to go to the website of the NAUPA at unclaimed.org. You could also go to the unclaimed property website for your state.
Unclaimed money can come from the federal government HUD agency as well. Many low income families use government assisted housing, such as section 8 or maybe transitional housing. The federal government may owe you free money for a rental or utility deposit, overpaid rent, fee reimbursements and more. The best place to search is the HUD database.
There is a free website as well for searching for money in your (or your families) name. There is a national resource that is free to use, and it is Missing Money. It is possible to both search the site as well as file a claim.
The Social Security Administration may have money in your name as well. Maybe it is cash from survivor benefits or SSI disability. Or maybe it is social security retirement funds or checks that were lost or never cashed. Or it can be public assistance that was due to a low income family. Regardless, the SSA is another place to look for free, unclaimed funds. Search the SSA for unclaimed funds.
Cash in old savings bonds
Whether you have a matured US savings bond to your name, or have inherited one that you never managed to cash or did not even know about, the search tool on the website of the US Treasury Department at treasurydirect.gov/indiv/tools/tools_treasuryhunt.htm could be a good place to start your search.
The U.S. Treasury currently holds on to more than $15 billion worth of unclaimed savings bonds. You can either fill out a form for free that you download from the website and mail it in, or, if it's a bond issued before 1974 that you need to claim on, supply the owner's Social Security number and other documentation.
Find unclaimed money in old accounts at closed banks
Some banks are shut down by the authorities for various regulatory reasons. Or they merge or a local branch near you goes out of business. If you had a long-forgotten account in such a bank at some point, the money in it could be covered by the FDIC. You could look on the FDIC's free website at for information on money in banks closed between 1989 and 1993.
If you had an account with a bank that closed after 1993, your money could be with the Unclaimed Property Bureau for your state. For closed-down credit unions, you should look on the website of the National Credit Union Administration.
Unclaimed funds from Class Action Lawsuits
For better or worse, America is a litigious country. There are countless class action lawsuits, and you may have free unclaimed money in your name from them as well. Maybe it was a product recall with a car company like Ford, or defective baby products or a health care class action such as 1800 Contacts. There are so many it is hard to track.
Regardless, you may have money in your name or maybe free refunds or rebates you can claim. Sometimes the companies have your information, sometimes you need to file a claim. But you can search for rebates or cash you are due from class action lawsuits. Another place to track lawsuits and claims is here at a consumer action website.
Claim your tax refund for free
When IRS refund checks go back because they are undeliverable, or become missing in the mail, the money isn't lost. If you believe that you may have an unclaimed refund to your name from the previous year or even going back multiple years, you could search for it with the Where's My Refund tool on the website of the IRS at irs.gov/refunds.
Information is available about unclaimed refunds for the previous financial year, alone. According to the IRS, you forfeit your right to claim a refund once you file a new tax return the following year.
Claim old pension benefits, investments or money from retirement funds
Bank accounts aren't the only financial resources where your investments are protected by the government. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. is a federal corporation whose function it is to insure and protect pension benefit plans as well as retirement benefits put in place by private employers. If you had a pension plan with a private company that you were employed with at any point, and the company went out of business, you could look for the company's pension fund on the website of the PBGC at pbgc.gov/search-unclaimed-pensions. You may find some free money their, in your name, parents, your spouses or family members.
You could discover that you have claimable pension funds to your name. You can also search the database of the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits for other kinds of retirement benefits - 401(k)s, IRAs, and so on. Look for retirement benefits.
If you have invested in the past (in individual “investment” accounts or retirement accounts), there are cases in which companies, mutual funds, and corporations get sued and anyone who invested into these investments is due money. Some of the most well known, infamous lawsuits in the past include Enron, the credit counseling companies like Experian, Wells Fargo bank, and others. These too are unclaimed funds. Some of this may be a class action lawsuit too. Search for free on the SEC.
Tips for searching for unclaimed money
Each company, bank, pension plan, etc. may use a different variation of your name. Maybe it was even done in error. For example, if your name is Jonathan, maybe search for Jon, John, Johnathan, and different variations of your name. The same concept applies to spellings of last names. This will improve your chances of finding free money.
There are a number of scams in the “unclaimed money” search process. Be wary of them. Never pay money to search a site. Be wary of what information you provide and who you provide it too, including your social security number(s). Never sign up for monthly subscription services. We also have a list of other ways to identify and safeguard against scams, both for unclaimed money and everything else in life.
Millions of Americans have unclaimed funds waiting for them at various government departments, private companies, banks or other places. This money can help any family, no matter their income, pay some extra bills or it can be saved. While there is no guarantee that you could have something in store in your name or in your parents' names, it could be a good idea to look. It is free to do and only take a few minutes to search for unclaimed money in your name. You could come by a windfall.