6 Misconceptions Massachusetts Unclaimed Property: These common myths could end up costing you if you believe them. FindMassMoney.com is the official website of the Massachusetts Unclaimed Property Division and is currently seeking the owners of $3.4 million in unclaimed money.
My sister Barbara sent me a text message on Saturday morning this year: “You have unclaimed funds.” I was unsure if anyone owed me money. After some hesitation, the link took me to the search engine for Massachusetts Unclaimed property. After confirming my identity, I was owed $165 by an old freelance client. I filed an online claim. I was done in less than three minutes. A few days later, I received a check for $182.86 in the mail. This included interest.
Let’s look at 6 misconceptions about Massachusetts unclaimed property
My initial doubts about whether there was any unclaimed money were the most difficult part of the entire process. This belief is common among Massachusetts residents, who may actually have unclaimed property, according to Mark William Bracken (assistant treasurer of Massachusetts) and director of the Unclaimed Property Division. Bracken dispelled this misconception and many others that prevent Massachusetts residents from finding the money they deserve.
1. Most likely, I won’t be able to claim any unclaimed property.
It might seem unlikely that you have left money behind. Bracken says that “unclaimed property” can mean a variety of things. It could be a forgotten bank account or an overpayment on your Comcast bill. Or $10 remaining on an AmEx gift certificate that you have never used. Perhaps your grandma had a savings account set up when you were young that you have forgotten about.
Massachusetts has more than $3.4 billion available for the claim and has returned $735 million over the past five years. Bracken states that there is a good chance you have some cash in your pockets, with 14 million properties still unclaimed by 6 million unique names. We wouldn’t have $3.4 Billion if everyone knew where their money was.
2. The amount I could claim is likely “peanuts.”
It is easy to make a claim. Bracken states that it takes only three minutes to complete the online form.
The $182 I received was not “peanuts” but rather a pleasant surprise in my financial life. “In today’s economic climate, money that people can use is any money. Even if it is $50, that will fill your gas tank. Bracken points out that $20 is lunch.
3. The state will either tell me I owe money or charge me fees if I do a search.
Bracken claims that this idea is false. Massachusetts Unclaimed Property is actually a division within the Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office. This government agency is made up of state employees serving the Commonwealth. The division has taken over the unclaimed property for safekeeping. Bracken says, “We’re looking for people to return it too.” This is a program that returns money to people. This is a program that doesn’t have any strings attached.
Bracken points out that “some websites charge $19 to search unclaimed property, and they are pulling databases from goodness knows what.” However, FindMassMoney.com does not charge a fee to search or ask for payment.
4. I will need to submit tons of paperwork if I file a claim.
My online claim was approved quickly, and this was not the case. Bracken states that online claims are more likely to be approved if all the required information is provided. About a third go online for auto-approval. You will be emailed a claim sheet asking for additional information if you do not go through auto-approval.
A photo of your ID will be required as well as proof of your social insurance number. FindMassMoney.com lets filers confirm their social security numbers over the phone if they are uncomfortable submitting them online.
5. It takes far too long to file a claim for payment.
Bracken states that you can file a claim online or over the phone in under a minute. Call our customer service number at 617-367-0400 to get a search done on your name. We can issue a claim in as little as 60 seconds.
Payments will be made once the claim is approved. It can take several weeks, rather than months, to get paid. Bracken states that auto-approval claims will be processed within 15 business days. It can take 6-8 weeks for a department to approve claims that need paperwork uploaded or mailed in. The claimant will be notified within 15 days of approval.
You can also receive an email update from the state regarding the status and status of your claim. Filers can also check the status online by entering their claim ID.
My $182 arrived ten days after I had submitted my claim.
6. After filing a claim, I am “done for good,” and my name is not on the list.
Multiple claims can be made, and there is an increasing number of unclaimed properties at a rate of approximately $250 million per year. Bracken suggests that you check the website or call our customer support line to verify your claim. “Just because you don’t have any last year doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t see this year.”
After receiving $182 that I did not know was due to me and having some lingering misperceptions dispelled in my favor by the director Unclaimed Property Division, I can assure you that I will be back on the list.