What Is Unclaimed Money in Massachusetts?
Unclaimed money refers to cash and cash equivalents that have remained untouched by the rightful owners longer than usual. In many cases, the owner may not know that the unclaimed funds exist until they perform an unclaimed money search. The Massachusetts government is currently the temporary custodian for $2 billion worth of unclaimed property as of December 2021. The state pays out an estimated $110 million to claimants every year.
Generally, when money belonging to a person remains dormant, the financial institution or service provider has the fiscal responsibility of contacting the owner and reminding them of the money. Suppose all attempts to locate and contact the individual, or their heirs and surviving relatives, fail. In that case, Massachusetts Unclaimed Property Law directs state agencies to transfer custody of the money or financial asset to the Unclaimed Property Division. Interested parties may find unclaimed money using the tools provided by the state agency, including a government list of unclaimed money.
How To Find Massachusetts Unclaimed Money
The Massachusetts Unclaimed Property Division maintains a publicly accessible online list of unclaimed funds. Interested persons can visit the website to find unclaimed money at any time. Besides functioning as a platform for finding unclaimed funds and property, the website also lets searchers submit a claim and upload the necessary documentation. Alternatively, concerned persons may contact the Unclaimed Property Division by sending an email to UCPClaims@tre.state.ma.us or placing a phone call to (617) 367-0400 during business hours.
Unclaimed money in the United States is public and can be accessed by anyone through official or non-governmental services. Third-party unclaimed money search engines are easy to use and deliver fast results not limited by geographic region. Users can typically search for unclaimed money through third-party search sites using just a full name or business name. However, because these sites are not government-sponsored, the availability and accuracy of results can vary.
How Do I Find Unclaimed Money For Free in Massachusetts?
Indeed, the online tool provided by the Massachusetts Unclaimed Property Division is free. However, there are other free online resources available to find and claim unclaimed money in Massachusetts. The resources listed below especially apply to unclaimed money at the federal or international level.
Unclaimed Funds in a Foreign Country
Individuals and relatives of persons who suffered bodily injury or property damage from military operations in a foreign country are also covered under government-government settlement agreements. All claims for covered losses go to the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, as well as claims for unclaimed compensations. Alternatively, contact the government agency on:
441 G Street, NW, Room 6330
Washington, DC 20579
Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds
Taxpayers can search the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refunds database for unclaimed tax refunds. Alternatively, the taxpayer may visit the local IRS office (see the local office directory) or call the IRS helpline on (800) 829-1040. Overpaying taxes happens when a taxpayer does their tax calculations incorrectly. The IRS deducts the due amount and refunds the difference. The IRS shall report it as unclaimed money when the taxpayer fails to cash these refunds within three years.
Unpaid Back Wages and Salaries
The Wages and Hours Division maintains an unclaimed money database for wages and compensations recovered from employers who intentionally exploited employees. Alternatively, call the Division on (866) 487-9243 or visit the local office in Massachusetts to inquire about unclaimed wages and salaries.
First, the agency uses administrative and civil actions to recover the amount due. Then, workers are contacted and invited to submit a claim. After that, the agency pays the claimants. When this money remains uncollected for several years, the Wages and Hours Division reports it as unclaimed money. Eligible claimants and authorized representatives may collect these funds, provided these individuals have the necessary documentation.
Beneficiaries of retirement benefits may use the PBGC unclaimed pension resource to find and collect lost or unpaid benefits. Bankruptcy, name change, mergers, and splits are some of the reasons American workers lose retirement benefits. Congress set up the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to insure against this loss and ensure that retirees continue to receive payments. The PBGC also has a guide for pensioners with unclaimed money, and concerned persons may contact the agency directly at:
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
1200 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4026
Phone: (800) 326-5678
Unclaimed Veterans' Life Insurance Funds
The veterans' life insurance fund offers financial coverage to disabled veterans, injured service members, and named beneficiaries. These individuals can find unclaimed insurance benefits by searching the Department of Veteran Affairs database or contacting the agency using the information below:
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Local office directory
Phone: (800) 827-1000
Unclaimed Credit Union Deposits
Deposits in credit union accounts become unclaimed money after three years. Account owners, immediate family members, and authorized representatives may find these unclaimed funds by searching the National Credit Union Administration database for unclaimed deposits. Alternatively, contact the Administration via:
National Credit Union Administration
4807 Spicewood Springs Road, Suite 5100
Austin, TX 78759
Phone: (512) 231-7900
Fax: (512) 231-7920
Unclaimed Harmed Investors' Funds
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) uses civil and administrative actions to recover illegal funds and assets accrued by individuals convicted of fraudulent investments. Then, the agency sets up a third-party funds administrator to liquidate assets and distribute the funds to harmed investors up to a certain amount. Investors who have been victims of securities fraud may search the SEC database for unclaimed funds. Alternatively, visit the regional office or call the helpline.
US Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549
Regional offices directory
Phone: (202) 551-6551
Unclaimed Matured Savings Bonds
Investors, immediate family members, and authorized representatives of these individuals may find unclaimed funds from bonds on the US Treasury Department database. Alternatively, contact the government agency on (844) 284-2676 and (202) 622-2000. Claimants may also send an email to Treasury.Direct@fiscal.treasury.gov.
Savings bonds offer investors guaranteed, albeit modest returns, over a long investment term — up to thirty (30) years. The lengthy maturation date also means an investor can forget to liquate the asset unless the individual has made prior arrangements. In such cases, the investment firm or the US Treasury Department will report the funds as unclaimed.
Unclaimed Bankruptcy Funds
Court-assigned trustees are in charge of asset liquidations and debt repayments to creditors with proof of claim. Uncollected payments to creditors will be tagged as unclaimed money after three years of the court's repeated attempts to contact the creditor or authorized representatives. These individuals can use US Courts Unclaimed Funds Locator to find and claim unclaimed funds from bankruptcy cases. Parties can also contact the bankruptcy court where the bankruptcy case was adjudicated directly:
US Bankruptcy Courts
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
One Columbus Circle, NE
Washington, DC 20544
Unclaimed Mortgage Refunds
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has a search tool that homeowners with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgage can use to search for unclaimed premium refunds and distributive share payments. These individuals and authorized representatives may contact the government agency at:
451 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20410
Phone: (800) 697-6967
How To Claim Unclaimed Money in Massachusetts
The process of claiming unclaimed money in Massachusetts involves five steps:
- Visit the official unclaimed money website
- Enter the owner's name to find unclaimed money
- Follow the onscreen prompts to select unclaimed money from search results
- Provide the necessary information and upload supporting documents
- Wait for review and payout from Massachusetts' State Treasury
The search for unclaimed money begins on FindMassMoney.com, the website which contains the government list of unclaimed money worth over $5.00. There, searchers must provide the names of the owners of unclaimed money. Businesses can also have unclaimed money and business owners can search for it using their business's name.
Upon entering the search parameters, the website will provide the government list of unclaimed money associated with that name, the owner's last known address, and the business entity that reported the existence of the unclaimed money. From here, the searcher can share the search results with the original unclaimed money owner or begin the claim process if they are the owner themselves. Owners need only select all of the unclaimed money that matches their details and click the yellow button at the bottom of the screen to proceed with a claim.
After selecting the "file your claim" button, the system will prompt users to provide personal information and contact details. The system takes the claimant through two more stages which involves certifying the correct information under the penalty of perjury as well as supporting documentation, including a driver's license and applicable Massachusetts vital records. After this, the system sends the claim to an administrative staff who reviews and approves or rejects the claim based on the information provided during the application stage.
If approved, the individual will receive a check for the equivalent amount of unclaimed money and any accrued interest if applicable. On the other hand, persons whose claims are rejected will have the opportunity to upload specific documents for administrative staff to reconsider the claim.
How Long Does It Take To Get Unclaimed Money in Massachusetts?
The average time from filing a claim to receiving a payout from the Department of State Treasurer is 60 days and as short as 30 days. This timeline only applies to the original owners of the unclaimed money, who must submit a claim online and provide the necessary supporting documentation. For other types of claimants, especially third-party claimants and individuals who have to provide additional supporting documentation for review, the timeline can be as long as 120 days, according to submission requirements from the Unclaimed Property Division.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives in Massachusetts?
Immediate family members who are natural heirs, relatives, parents, uncles, and aunts may claim unclaimed money from deceased relatives in Massachusetts. Likewise, the legal representatives of the deceased, will executors, and court-appointed probate administrators can claim unclaimed money on a deceased party's behalf. The same applies to attorneys representing the persons mentioned above. These individuals must provide supporting documentation in the form of Massachusetts vital records and court orders before the Unclaimed Property Division will process claims.
What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Massachusetts if No One Claims It?
Unclaimed money remains in perpetuity until the original owners, rightful heirs, or surviving family members file a valid claim. There is no deadline for claiming unclaimed funds in Massachusetts. When an authorized individual submits a valid claim, the state agency acting as temporary custodian will issue a check for the total value of the original funds and any accrued interests.
Can Someone in Massachusetts Claim Unclaimed Money From Another State?
Yes. Persons currently living in Massachusetts but who have financial accounts in other states can claim unclaimed money in those states. These individuals must follow the state's process for finding unclaimed money and filing a claim. Most states maintain online government lists of unclaimed money like Massachusetts does. However, the filing process may differ. Filing a claim for unclaimed money is free, apart from the mailing costs.