12 places to find free money
Did you know that there are billions of dollars in unclaimed money? According to NAUPA (National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators), State treasuries and other companies are holding approximately $41.7 billion in unclaimed assets. These assets can range from things such as inactive bank accounts, tax refunds, utility deposits, and pay cheques to refunds from companies, certificates of deposits, insurance benefits, pension payments and so on. You may be thinking, “I’m very careful with my money and watch my accounts closely.” However there are situations where you might be entitled to free cash and not even know it. Keep reading to find out how you can find free money that’s owed to you.
This website is endorsed by NAUPA, and several participating U.S. States and Canadian provinces. Entering your first and last name should be sufficient to match you up to any missing money. If there is a match, you will need to fill out a form and enter your social security or social insurance number so they can ensure that the right person is making the claim. If you have deceased relatives, you may be able to make a claim on their behalf. Check this website every few months to ensure you haven’t left free cash on the table.
This site is also endorsed by NAUPA, and can take you directly to your state or province’s treasury department of Unclaimed Property. In addition, this site also links to treasury departments of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin islands and participating Canadian provinces. Individual treasury departments get updated faster than the national database plus you may not have to scroll through a nationwide database if you have a common name. However, I would check this website as well as the one listed above to ensure you are not overlooking something. Also, be sure to do a search in every state that you lived in as well as any deceased relatives.
3. Tax refunds
In 2015, the IRS had about $1 billion dollars in unclaimed tax refunds. Many people don’t realize they qualify for tax credits and hence do not file their taxes or file incorrectly. Here’s the good news! You have up to three years to backfile and claim any refunds. If you are owed a refund, then you will not be penalized for filing late. In addition, if you misplaced a cheque from the IRS, you can also ask the IRS to reissue your uncashed cheque.
4. Old insurance policies
Demutualization of insurance companies is another type of refund that you may have never been aware of. This means that when major insurance companies such as Metlife and Prudential converted from mutual life insurance companies that are owned by their policy holders to publicly traded companies owned by shareholders, old policy holders get a share of the stock or cash. The amount of the refund depends on various factors such as the face value of the policy, the length of time the policy has been in force, and the total amount of premiums paid. Some of the reasons you may not be aware of such a refund include, unreported name changes after a marriage or divorce, which means you may not have gotten any notices regarding such changes. Another reason is if a deceased relative had not claimed their entitlement,and as an eligible relative or heir, you are entitled to claim this refund. Sometimes, it could be as simple as moving and not getting all your mail. Regardless of the reason, these refunds may already be reported to the state, in which case you can search for these refunds on www.missingmoney.com or www.unclaimedproperty.org.
5. Former employer pension plans
Many people forget to move over pension plans when they switch jobs. To make matters worse, you may not be able to locate the plan due to the company going out of business or changing it’s name. Luckily, there is a government agency that keeps track of these unclaimed pensions – the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. They are responsible for tracking, protecting and insuring most private pensions. For Federal pensions, check out the Federal Employee Retirement System and Civil Service Retirement System.
6. Class-action lawsuits
A class action lawsuit is a lawsuit brought against a company by one or several individuals on behalf of a larger group of persons referred to as ‘the class’. Class action lawsuits are usually filed when the disputed issue is common to all members of the class. In addition, too many people are affected by the issue that it would be impractical to bring everyone to court. This way, whatever the monetary settlement is, every class action member is entitled to a portion of this. To find out what the current class action lawsuits are, check out www.classactionrebates.com. You can sign up for the email list to keep you posted on new lawsuits that you may be part of. Keep in mind that for some of the claims, no proof is required. However, if you do have a receipt as proof, you would be entitled to a higher refund.
If you lost your home to a foreclosure, and it was sold for more than what you owed, you are entitled to a refund. If you happen to be in this situation and never claimed your refund cheque, then you can contact the property tax assessor to find out the sale price and how much of the payment went cover any tax bills. They should also be able to tell you what is due to you as a refund. Another place to check is also the municipality’s court clerk.
9. Savings Bonds
Most people forget about their savings bonds rather than lose them. Usually families that plan ahead give these as gifts to kids and other family members. There are billions of dollars of matured savings bonds that still have not been cashed. The Treasury Hunt tool can help you lay claim to a misplaced series E savings bond from 1974 or later that have matured, as well as most registered Treasury notes and bonds.
To file a claim for lost bonds, you can submit a form PDF 1048 to the Treasury, with dates of purchase, names on bonds and other pertinent information.
10. Your old bank or financial institution
If your old bank went out of business and you did not claim your funds before this happened, you may still be able to get your money back if the bank was FDIC insured. Most banks are FDIC insured up to $250,000. For any banks that closed between 1989 and 1993, you can make a claim at the FDIC. After 1993, these funds go to state treasuries. So you can check www.missingmoney.com or www.unclaimedproperty.org. If you are curious and want to find out what happened to your old bank, click here.
11 . FHA loans
If you ever had an FHA home loan, HUD may be sitting on refund money for you. Go to HUD.gov and see if you’re in their refund database.
There are a variety of governmental programs available. To find out if you qualify for any of these, head to Benefits.gov. Once there, you’ll have to go through a 80-100 question quiz answering some basic info questions. It takes you a mere five minutes and once you complete the questionnaire, a printout will share what you may qualify for.
Were you able to secure any free cash? Do you know of any other sources of free cash? Feel free to comment below.
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