Illinois Treasury returns $3 billion in unclaimed funds, property

(The Center Square) – The Illinois Treasurer has $3 billion in funds and unclaimed property that he wants to return.

One in four people in Illinois is eligible to claim some forgotten money or property, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said.

“When I came into office, I heard too many people complaining about how hard it was to claim this stuff,” he said.

The records were on paper and on dated computer systems. To prove their identity, people needed to produce old utility bills from homes they had moved away from years before. Frerichs and his staff took the system online and made it easier for people to search and find their property.

“I know that when we put that money into Illinois citizens’ hands, it will do more good for the economy than it does sitting in a bank in Springfield,” Frerichs said.

The average person who makes a claim gets $1,000, he said.

The money could come from a forgotten bank account. It could be from a rebate check that was accidentally thrown out. There may be a life insurance policy that a person never knew about. The treasurer also receives the contents of safe deposit boxes that have languished in banks. People may die and forget to tell their children about life insurance policies or valuables, Frerichs said.

His staff is diligent about returning military medals to families, he said. They have returned seven Purple Hearts to relatives – some of whom never knew that their loved one had been a war hero.

To do a free search, visit

Frerichs said he is proud to have returned more than $1 billion in unclaimed property to people in the five years that he has been in office. Frerichs said he and his staff work hard to get that money and property back to the rightful owners.

Unclaimed property is officially turned over to the state twice a year. Frerichs suggested people check the website regularly for updates.

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