How a Claim Becomes a Check

Unclaimed Property
Jul 14 2015

By Regina Crites, Unclaimed Property

In this day and age almost everyone has heard of unclaimed property. There have been various news reports and articles of how people have found thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars that they didn’t even know they had. Just like a miniature Publishers Clearinghouse Prize Patrol, there is often a “big check” ceremony for the really large winners. But how can you be sure this isn’t simply another scam?

In 1966 the West Virginia Legislature passed the abandoned and unclaimed personal property bill. In the first fiscal year of the program, disbursements totaled more than $5 thousand dollars. That was a lot of money back then but as a comparison, more than $9 MILLION dollars was returned in fiscal year 2015. There is “No Purchase Necessary” and no fee to search for unclaimed property that may be held in your name with the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office. Keep reading to see how you can get in on some of this cold hard cash!

To start your search click here. If property is found in your name it may be claimed through the website or you may file a paper claim. Both the online claim process and the paper claim form ask for basic information such as name, address, date of birth, social security number, West Virginia Driver’s License Number or State Issued ID Number and expiration date.

The Unclaimed Property staff downloads electronic claims from the website on a regular basis. When the information is imported into the claims database, the evidence provided by the claimant is verified against records of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Other outside sources are also used to validate an address. Certain types of properties may require additional information. If that is the case you will receive a request for the needed materials. If you filed electronically the request will come in the form of an email. If you sent in a paper claim your notice will come in a letter.

Once all of the information is received and if it agrees to the property held, the staff will approve the claim. A payment is processed in the accounting system and all documents are forwarded on to the Claims Manager for final approval.  Larger dollar amounts require several levels of approval.

By law the Unclaimed Property Division has up to ninety days after the receipt of all evidence to allow or deny the claim. The process is normally much quicker and sometimes same day approval is the case. After the claim is approved, the Auditor’s Office has thirty days to issue a check to the claimant.  You will be notified when your claim has been paid or denied.

New properties are reported each week so even if your name search produced no results, check again at a later date. With more than $200 million dollars in unclaimed funds it is just possible the West Virginia State Treasury is holding money for you!

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The Treasury does not collect state taxes. Visit the The West Virginia State Tax Department for assistance.

West Virginia State Treasurer's Office
1900 Kanawha Boulevard
Capitol Complex Building #1, Room E-145
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
304-558-5000 Toll Free: 800-422-7498

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