Treasurer Magaziner’s Automated Unclaimed Property Initiative Leads to Four-Fold Increase in Rhode Islanders Reunited with Missing Money
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today announced that his office reunited nearly 50,000 people with unclaimed property in the fiscal year than ended on June 30, 2018, nearly five times the amount of any previous year. This increase is due to the launch of the Treasurer’s YOUR MONEY initiative which, for the first time ever in Rhode Island, automatically sends checks to many of the people listed in the unclaimed property database.
The office of the General Treasurer processed the return of 49,189 unclaimed property claims in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2018, shattering the previous record of 11,890 set in Fiscal Year 2014. In total, more than $15.2 million in missing money was returned to its rightful owners in Fiscal Year 2018. The average check size was $310.
“Too many Rhode Islanders are still struggling to make ends meet, and we can help by returning money that his rightfully theirs,” said Treasurer Magaziner. “Our program makes Rhode Island only the second state in the country that automatically reunites thousands of people with their missing money with no paperwork or red tape.”
Unclaimed property can include money left in old bank accounts and safe deposit boxes, uncashed paychecks, unused gift certificates, unreturned utility deposits, uncollected insurance payments and forgotten stocks and dividends.
To reunite Rhode Islanders with their unclaimed property more efficiently, Treasurer Magaziner launched the innovative YOUR MONEY program in November 2017. Under YOUR MONEY, unclaimed property checks are automatically mailed to individuals whose current address is already on file at the Department of Revenue and in other state databases. For most recipients of YOUR MONEY, the first time they know they have unclaimed property is when the check arrives their mailbox.
Following the first round of YOUR MONEY checks, in November 2017, the Treasurer’s Office heard from hundreds of Rhode Islanders who were surprised to learn they had missing money. Robert from North Kingstown wrote to the Treasurer’s Office after receiving an unexpected check for $1,510.
“Thank you very much for the recently received check for $1,510 representing unclaimed property,” wrote Mr. Gormley. “I think your new program to send unclaimed property to its rightful owners is a great step to reestablish trust in Rhode Island Government.”
The YOUR MONEY program was made possible by legislation passed by the General Assembly at Treasurer Magaziner’s request in 2017, sponsored by Senator James Seveney (D-Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton) and Representative Julie Casimiro (D-Exeter, North Kingstown).
While YOUR MONEY automatically matches thousands of Rhode Islanders with the unclaimed property, all Rhode Islanders are still encouraged to visit findRImoney.com to see if the state is holding unclaimed property that it rightfully theirs.