New York State Wants to Give You Back Your Money Now


In terms of financial fantasies that will never happen to us, the one where that great-uncle we only met once dies and leaves us a fortune ranks pretty high up on the list, just slightly ahead of the one where the state turns out to owe us a ton of money that we never even realized was missing and goes ahead and pays us back, with interest.

Well, we can’t do anything about your long-lost, hopefully wealthy and generous relatives, but we can tell you about the very best part of the Office of the State Comptroller’s website: The Unclaimed Funds section. Where, currently, $9.9 billion sits just waiting for someone to remember it.

The money comes from long forgotten bank accounts, unclaimed tax refunds, insurance claims, and utility rebates; those companies are required by law to surrender inactive accounts to the state. If you can prove the money is yours, they’ll return it to you. Kinda like winning the lottery except without having to deal with any of that messy scratch-off business — and, of course, the inevitable letdown when you realize the money was yours in the first place.

Still, it’s exciting! We tried it out online, and sadly, we are owed nothing. But if you have a name similar to ours, we suggest testing your luck. Someone with the initials “J.D.” has something coming to her.

Per NY1, most of the 23-million accounts contain less than $100. But you never know, it could be your lucky day.

Meanwhile, Governor Paterson said today that if the federal government doesn’t approve the Medicaid money that the state’s counting on, the state deficit may balloon from $9.2 billion to $10.2 billion. Which makes us wonder, a little bit, why the state comptroller is trying so hard to return this unclaimed cash to its rightful owners now. Just doing their jobs…or is something more overtly political at work? After all, unclaimed money is money in the bank.