As we know, states across the US return hundreds of millions in unclaimed money annually and efforts in recent years have increased dramatically. Many states are looking to add to their coffers by getting access to their residents unclaimed savings bonds from the US Treasury.
Savings bonds go back to to WW I and II as an effort for the US government to get average Americans to invest in war efforts. This program evolved as many of us got these bonds for birthdays or graduations and in 2012 this program even went digital so you didn’t need to put those paper bonds somewhere you would almost definitely lose them.
In and article in the Wall Street Journal they highlight one Russian immigrant trio of sisters who could have benefited greatly from these unclaimed savings bonds. This particular family started investing in savings bonds in the 1940’s and stored these bonds in a bank in Kansas. According to the WSJ article they all had died by 1998 with little or no money to their names. These unclaimed bonds, which all three sisters had access to, were discovered after their passing. In today’s market, these bonds are worth nearly $700,000.
Why Do States Want These Unclaimed Savings Bonds
There are two main motives for states to be asking for ownership of these funds. The first is the noble one, they are actively looking to return the money where as the federal government is not.
States offer comprehensive searchable databases where you can search by name, address, and state to see if money is owed to you. The US government offers no such system. Here is the exact text on the US unclaimed money website:
There is no central source to look for unclaimed money from the government that might be owed to you.https://www.usa.gov/unclaimed-money
State treasurers have even begun large campaigns to get the money and property back to its rightful owners.
The second reason is less noble and is also why the US Treasury is fighting so hard to keep these funds, interest. These funds are actual money and whomever holds them collects the interest on the accounts they are in. These bonds total over $25 billion, adding great incentive for states to obtain and the government to keep.
Be sure to place your savings bonds in a safe place if you have them. If lost, or worse, unknown, there is no system to get this money back to its rightful owners.