Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Legislation championed by State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell is making it easier for people to retrieve their missing money that the Department of State Treasurer (DST) has been safeguarding.
The N.C. General Assembly passed and Gov. Roy Cooper signed a law that allows DST’s Unclaimed Property Division (UPD) to work with the rightful owners to claim up to $5,000 without any red tape. The initiative is called NCCash Match and was rolled out on a six-month trial basis in October 2020.
Initially the pilot program allowed the expedited process for claims of up to $250 through March 15. During that limited time UPD staff processed a total of 20,969 claims among all 100 counties and distributed slightly more than $1.4 million. The total was nearly $1.7 million when including payments made on 3,895 claims to people no longer living in North Carolina. Due to the success of the program, both legislative chambers voted unanimously to make the program permanent, and the bill was signed into law by the governor on March 11.
Folwell thanked Sen. Don Davis, Sen. Todd Johnson, Sen. Tom McInnis and Sen. Jim Burgin for adding the provision to House Bill 196 to make the program permanent. And he expressed appreciation to Rep. Pat Hurley, Rep. Ed Goodwin and Rep. Keith Kidwell, the primary sponsors of House Bill 156, which raised the amount eligible for the expedited process to $5,000. The General Assembly unanimously passed the bill and the governor signed it into law on April 27.
Folwell said the new goal for the program is to pay at least 100,000 claims per year under the higher cap. The next round of checks will be issued on May 5.
“As the state-mandated custodian of $919 million of unclaimed property, our mission is to put that money back into the wallets and bank accounts of the rightful owners, especially now that so many people are still feeling the financial shock of the COVID-19 lockdowns,” Folwell said. “The NCCash Match program is just one innovative method we are employing to achieve that aim without bureaucracy.”
Under NCCash Match, property owners do not need to take any action to receive their money — no claim forms to fill out, no searching for papers showing proof of ownership and no signature pages to complete. UPD proactively researches its records to identify qualifying properties of $5,000 or less. Notification letters are mailed to claimants with a goal of issuing a check in six to eight weeks.
North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that offers this service.
The unclaimed money that UPD safeguards comes from uncashed checks, forgotten bank accounts, utility deposits, insurance proceeds, stocks, bonds and other abandoned funds.
“There are millions of items in DST custody that don’t qualify for NCCash Match,” Folwell said. “So I encourage you to go to the NCCash.com website and do a search for your name, your spouse’s maiden name, your friends’ and relatives’ names, business, church and non-profit to see if there is a windfall waiting to be collected.”
The Unclaimed Property Division receives and safeguards funds that are escheated, or turned over, to the N.C. Department of State Treasurer according to state law. The unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, and bonds that are uncollected or undeliverable, and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned.
More information, including how to find out if you are owed money, can be found at https://www.nccash.com.