CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Many Ohioans continue to face tough financial times during the pandemic.
But could you have access to money you forgot about?
Thousands of people have money just sitting with the state in unclaimed funds.
People forget about their own money more than you may think.
The forgotten money was left in bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, security deposits on utilities, stocks and bonds.
“We want to let people know, hey, we have money, we have $3 billion that has gone unclaimed,” said Akil Hardy, the superintendent for the Ohio Division of Unclaimed Funds.
He’s on a mission to return that money to people.
For many Ohioans that financial boost is more important than ever.
“Unfortunately many people have lost jobs, and I think right now is a good time to emphasize sound financial literacy. That includes checking, or taking account of your assets, any funds, including checking for any unclaimed funds,” Hardy said.
Surprisingly in a year like this, more people haven’t claimed their money from the state.
Hardy said it’s been steady. In fiscal year 2020, businesses and banks turned over $283 million to the state and the Division of Unclaimed Funds returned $93 million to Ohioans.
19 Investigates asked where the money goes until someone claims it.
“No, we don’t keep the money in the baseboard of our floor or anything like that,” Hardy said.
“It’s actually in an account. But those funds are held in perpetuity. So until the rightful owner comes to claim the funds, those stay with us,” he said.
If an account is dormant for three to five years, the bank tries to connect the money with its owner.
If they can’t, that forgotten money goes by law to the state.
And it’s not just people who have unclaimed funds. Cities and school districts may have them too. We found the city of Elyria was one of their biggest cases.
Back in 2013, the state returned about $3 million to the city.
The division also holds onto forgotten small treasures like precious metals, coins, stamps, and foreign currency.
“That’s our little secret right. Not only do we take in cash items, but we also take in actual safe deposit box items as well,” Hardy said.
19 Investigates got a rare look inside of Ohio’s ‘lost and found’ last year.
Most of that property is still waiting for its owners to take it back.
Do you have unclaimed funds?
You may be wondering if you have unclaimed money or property.
It’s easy to find out with a simple search on the Ohio Division of Unclaimed Funds website, by clicking on “find missing money.”
You can also search for unclaimed funds at www.missingmoney.com, by clicking on “start your search.”
If you find out you do have unclaimed funds or property, you can submit a claim.
You can find Frequently Asked Questions about how to do that here.
If you’re a business owner, you are nearing a reporting deadline with the state.
Anyone who transacts within Ohio may have funds they need to report to the Unclaimed Funds Division by November 1.
This does not apply to life insurance companies.
Even if your business does not have funds to report, you still have to do this under a “None” report.
You can find out more here.