Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH – The Department of State Treasurer (DST) has successfully answered the million-dollar question of whether there is a quicker way to distribute some of the unclaimed property in its vaults, and more than 15,000 people are richer for it.
State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell announced DST’s Unclaimed Property Division (UPD) has sent out $1,084,045 to 15,816 recipients through a new initiative called NCCash Match. The program is designed to eliminate paperwork and speed up the process to return unclaimed money in DST’s possession to its rightful owners.
“We are the state-mandated custodian of more than $900 million in unclaimed property and are always looking for ways to put that money back in the hands of the people to whom it belongs,” Treasurer Folwell said. “NCCash Match is one of the ways to achieve that goal, and the results prove the expedited process is working as planned.”
In 2020, the N.C. General Assembly passed House Bill 1023 that allowed UPD to initiate the pilot program and waive paperwork requirements for tens of thousands of claims valued at $250 or less. However, that legislation expires on March 15 of this year. Recognizing the success of the program, a bill has been filed in the Senate to indefinitely extend the program. The bill’s primary sponsors are Sen. Don Davis, Sen. Todd Johnson and Sen. Jim Burgin.
The program launched in October, and UPD expects to pay 25,000 expedited claims worth $1.4 million in its six-month inaugural run. The long-term goal is to pay at least 100,000 in claims every year thereafter.
Of the total amount distributed as of February 18, 13,360 claims totaling $910,085 were paid in North Carolina counties. The remainder went to recipients who no longer live in the state.
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 claims of $250 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, other abandoned funds and personal property.
“Many of those items are worth more than $250 and don’t qualify for NCCash Match,” Treasurer Folwell said. “So I encourage citizens to go to the NCCash.com website and do a search for your name, your spouse’s maiden name, your friends’, relatives’, business, church or non-profit’s names to see if there is a windfall just waiting to be collected.”
Since the fiscal year started July 1, a total of 70,418 claims have been filed, with more than $41.8 million paid out.
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/