How to Find Out if You Can Claim Money From the State

Kanye West, Michael Jordan, Chicago’s mayor, the governor – even the Obamas – all appear to have money due to them by the State of Illinois. Here’s how to find out if you do, too.

You or members of your family may well have money that’s just waiting for you to claim it from the offices of the Illinois State Treasurer.

According to Treasurer Michael Frerichs, he’s holding on to more than $2 billion in unclaimed funds – in the form of old security deposits, dusty stock certificates, forgotten insurance policies, and much more. He said he wants nothing more than to get all of that money back to its rightful owners.

Here’s how to find out if some of that money is yours:

• Go to the Illinois iCash website and press the “Get Started” button.

• Search your name, your spouse’s name, your parents’ names, your maiden name, the names of your siblings, etc. Don’t fill in the City/Zip Code field unless you have a very common name. Then press “Search.”

• Carefully check the results, because many entries are misspelled, and you want to find those as well. The entries are NOT alphabetized, so make sure and check every page, and try every version of your name. Also make sure you look for every address you’ve lived at in Illinois. Be persistent!

• Check any boxes that apply to you, and then press the “Claim Properties” button. Then press “Next.”

• Fill out the form, and press “Next,” and then “Submit.”

• Check your e-mail for something from “Illinois Unclaimed Property.” If you don’t see it within ten minutes, check your “junk” file.

• Open the .pdf attachment in the e-mail. That’s where you’ll found out the total of how much you’re owed, and instructions on how to start the claims process.

Some inside tips:

• Often, an unclaimed fund is listed at an address where you may have lived decades ago, and you no longer have any documents showing that you lived there. NBC5 Investigates found that the Treasurer’s office allows people to sign a waiver, attesting that they lived at an old address with no documentation, for amounts under $500.00. We have not been able to find that document on the iCash website, however, so – if you need it – you’ll need to call the Treasurer’s office at 217-785-6998.

• Treasurer Frerichs says he’s constantly adding new unclaimed funds to the website. His office suggests that you make it a habit to check for money twice a year – perhaps when you’re switching the clocks in the fall and the spring, for Daylight Savings Time.

• If you, or members of your family, have ever lived or worked in another state, you should check those states’ records for even more unclaimed cash. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators provides this map to find links to search tools for every state; territory; some Canadian provinces and the country of Kenya.

• Expect to wait. NBC5 found that even the most straightforward claims took three to four months.

• Frerichs also warns against companies that will contact you, telling you that they’ll claim your money for a fee. Don’t take that bait, says Frerichs: The iCash process is absolutely free – as is the claims process for every other state.

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