How to find unclaimed money held by the government

Written by catherine lovering
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How to find unclaimed money held by the government
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To find money long thought lost can feel like winning the lottery. Fortunately, it is easy to find unclaimed money held by the government. States keep searchable databases of unclaimed property, including money. In addition, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, a non-profit organisation affiliated with the Council of State Governments, maintains a centralised unclaimed property resource for the United States. The databases are free to search, and you may find you have money waiting for you to claim.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Review the list of "Other Sources for Unclaimed Property" found on the NAUPA website. This is particularly useful if you know the nature of the unclaimed money for which you wish to search. For example, if you are looking for a missing tax refund, contributions to a defunct pension plan or insured deposits made to a closed financial institution, check this page for links to external government agencies that may have your funds. This page also includes other links to unclaimed property sites, including international links.

  2. 2

    Make a list of all the states in which you have lived and may have left unclaimed money.

  3. 3

    Click on each state on your list on the map on NAUPA's home page. Each state will link to the respective state's government home page on unclaimed property.

  4. 4

    Scan each state government's website on unclaimed property for a link to a searchable database. Each website looks slightly different, and each state's page will have the link to the search function in a different area on the page. For example, the Oregon site has a link named "Unclaimed Property Name Search" on the bottom half of the centre-left area of the page. The California site, on the other hand, has a link named "Start Your Search" in a box labelled "Online Claim Services" on the left-hand margin of the page.

  5. 5

    Contact the respective state's agency if you have found unclaimed property that is rightfully yours following the instructions provided on the website.

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