News Local/State

New Program Automatically Connects Illinois Residents To Unclaimed Property


Carl Hill (left) received unclaimed property after searching his name in the state's database. State Treasurer Micheal Frerichs (right) unveiled a new program to match taxpayers to their unclaimed funds during a press conference in Champaign. Anna Casey/Illinois Public Media

The Illinois State Treasurer's office has more than $2 billion in lost money and unclaimed property it's tasked with safeguarding until rightful owners can be located, and a new program unveiled Tuesday aims to make it easier for Illinois residents to connect with those funds. 

The new 'Money Match' program will automatically return unclaimed assetts such as life insurance proceeds, forgotten bank accounts or other benefits, to the appropriate individual or heir. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said tax data from the Illinois Department of Revenue will now be matched with the unclaimed property program so that residents who are owed less than $2,000 will receive a check in the mail without having to file a claim. 

"For the first time in Illinois, citizens will not have to go to our website and fill out a form if they’re owed property less than $2,000," Frerichs said. "If they currently live at that address, we can track it down because of their tax returns. We’re just going to mail them a check.”

Illinois returned a record-breaking $180 million in forgotten cash and stock last year, according to the state Treasurer. This month, approximately 63,000 letters will be sent to Illinois residents who have unclaimed assetts to confirm their address. After that information is confirmed, a check will be mailed within three weeks. 

"We encourage people to check their mail... it is their money, we want to get it into their hands," Frerichs said. 

The Treasurer's office encouraged people to continue to check the state's database to search for funds they may be entititled if the cash amount is above $2,000. The new match program does not match cash owned by multiple parties, or distribute bank safe deposit box contents. Frerichs said the Treasurer's office will never ask for personal information, or a fee, in exchange for returning funds.