New Program Automatically Reconnects People with Unclaimed Property
State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced the first group of unclaimed property checks issued through the new West Virginia Cash Now program have been mailed to more than 8,000 individuals, with checks totaling more than $4.2 million on their way to mailboxes.
“This is the first round of checks we’re issuing through this new, innovative unclaimed property program, and I encourage residents to be on the lookout for the envelope from our Office containing a check with their money,” Treasurer Moore said. “This is one more way in which we’ve worked to modernize the State Treasurer’s Office and make it more efficient and helpful for our citizens.”
West Virginia Cash Now is a new, automated system for sending unclaimed property to its rightful owners – without the need for those individuals to file paperwork with his Office.
Borne out of House Bill 4511, an unclaimed property modernization bill that Treasurer Moore proposed to lawmakers earlier this year, this program allows the Treasurer’s Office’s Unclaimed Property Division to quickly issue checks to residents who have addresses and contact information that are readily verifiable in legal databases.
West Virginia’s unclaimed property laws protect the public by ensuring money and property owed to them is returned, rather than remaining permanently with financial institutions, business associations, governments and other entities. The Treasurer seeks to reunite the unclaimed property, which often comes from uncashed checks, refunds, stocks, or safe deposit box contents, with its owner.
Treasurer Moore said his Unclaimed Property Division has more than 3 million listings valued at more than $300 million. The Cash Now program applies to one of the most common types of claims: Individual property owners with claim amounts ranging from $100 to less than $5,000.
“We know one of the biggest reasons people don’t claim their property is the paperwork involved in the process – they don’t think what they’ll get is worth the time to fill out and submit the forms,” Treasurer Moore said. “The West Virginia Cash Now program removes that obstacle for people with more modest amounts of claims. If we can verify a person’s identity and address in an existing legal database, we can go ahead and send them their money and avoid making them go through the paperwork process.”
The Treasurer’s Office mailed letters to potential recipients in July to notify them they should be receiving a check through the new program. In addition to informing the individuals they would be getting a check, the letters were also used to verify addresses. Letters that came back undeliverable were removed from the West Virginia Cash Now check distribution.
A total of 8,203 individuals will receive checks as part of this initial distribution. The checks submitted from this initial batch total $4,244,379.
Treasurer Moore urged individuals to be on the lookout for their checks and assured them the program is not a fraud.
“To the people who receive these checks, please be assured: This is not a scam!” Treasurer Moore said. “This is your money, it’s our job to return it to you, so you can take that check to the bank with confidence and use those funds as you wish.”
More information on the program is available at www.WVCashNow.com.
While the Cash Now program will create a new automated process for certain claims, it does not apply to all claims. Businesses, government entities, estate claims and securities are not covered by the program because additional documentation is required to verify the owner. Individuals with claims of $5,000 or more will also still have to file paperwork with the Office to receive their claim.
Since the new program will not cover all claim types, Treasurer Moore emphasized that individuals should still regularly visit www.wvtreasury.com and click on the “Search” button to see if the Office is holding any assets in their name.