SALT LAKE CITY — The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than its fair share of economic upheaval, leaving many people strapped for cash.
However, thousands of Utahns have forgotten funds sitting idle with the state of Utah, waiting to be claimed. So now, State Treasurer David Damschen is doubling down on his efforts to reunite Utahns with their money.
Among his many jobs, Damschen oversees the Utah Unclaimed Property Division, which is where money and property go when the rightful owner cannot be found.
Last year, the division reunited some $29 million dollars worth of such cash and property to its owners or their heirs. But that is still less than 10% of the more than $370 million dollars it’s holding onto right now.
“We’re custodians of that money,” said Damschen. “Our sole purpose in the Unclaimed Property Division is to chase down the rightful owner of that money, and put it back in their pocket.”
That money comes from a variety of sources: insurance payments, dormant bank accounts, abandoned safety deposit boxes, overpayments to a utility company or even uncashed checks.
“It might be a rebate or refund check that gets mailed to you, and it gets lost and is never cashed,” Damschen said. “That company still owes that money to you, and when they determine that check has never cleared, and if they can’t find you, they pass that money to the Unclaimed Property Division.”
Millions of dollars every year gets added to the division’s pot, but that money still belongs to you. The agency estimates that approximately one in five Utahns has unclaimed money waiting to be claimed.
The state will hold onto that money forever so that anytime an owner comes forward, it will be available. Claiming property is relatively easy: Go online, type your name in the database and if anything pops up, claim it.
“We still have claim processors that are available to meet in person,” said Damschen. “But most of what we do can be done virtually (online).”
In these horrible economic times, you would think people would be coming out of the woodwork to claim forgotten money.
But that hasn’t been the case so far.
“I’m a little bit surprised,” said Damschen. “We had good and normal volume in March, and we had a decline in April.”
So now, the treasurer’s office is hosting a six-hour webathon on Monday.
During the event, they’ll share stories of success and spell out the process on how to file a claim if you think some of that $370-million pot is rightfully yours.
“I always want to get money back the rightful owners. And we’re always very energetic about that,” said Damschen. “But believe me, in this environment, in this crisis, we really, really, really want to get that money back to where it belongs.”
Here are three ways to take part in Monday’s unclaimed property webathon:
You can also claim your money anytime by going to mycash.utah.gov.
And if you feel you may have forgotten money in another state, this link will take you to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators sites where you can find each state’s database.