According to the site USA.Gov, if a business, government office, or other source owes you money that you don’t collect, it’s considered unclaimed.
The federal government doesn’t have a central website for finding unclaimed money. But you don’t need to hire a company to find unclaimed money for you. You can find it on your own for free, using official databases.
- Search in Your State
Businesses send money to state-run unclaimed property offices when they can’t locate the owner. The money in state unclaimed funds is often from bank accounts, insurance policies, or your state government.
- Start your search for unclaimed money with your state’s unclaimed property office.
- Use the multi-state database to search for your name, especially if you’ve moved to another state.
- Verify how to claim your money. Each state has its own rules about how you prove that you’re the owner and claim the money.
- Search for Money from Employers
- Unpaid Wages – The Department of Labor (DOL) may recover back wages for you if your employer broke labor laws. If you think you may be owed back wages from your employer:
- Search DOL’s database of workers who have money waiting to be claimed. DOL holds unpaid wages for up to three years.
- Pensions from Former Employers – Search for unclaimed pensions from companies that went out of business or ended a defined plan.
- Search for Money from Insurance
- VA Life Insurance Funds – Search the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) database for unclaimed insurance funds.
- The VA may owe money to current or former policyholders or their beneficiaries.
- This database doesn’t include funds from Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policies from 1965 to the present.
- FHA-Insurance Refunds – If you had an FHA-insured mortgage, you may be eligible for a refund from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Search the HUD database with your FHA case number (three digits, a dash, and the next six digits—for example, 051-456789).
- Search for Money from Tax Refunds
- Tax Refunds – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may owe you money if your refund was unclaimed or undelivered.
- Search for Money from Banking and Investments
- Bank Failures – Search the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for unclaimed funds from failed financial institutions.
- Credit Union Failures – Find unclaimed deposits from credit unions.
- SEC Claims Funds – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lists enforcement cases in which a company or person owes investors money.
- Replace a Savings Bond – Replace a lost, stolen, or destroyed paper savings bond.
- Foreign Claims – U.S. nationals can find money owed to them from foreign governments after the loss of property.
Undelivered and Unclaimed Federal Tax Refund Checks
Every year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has millions of dollars in tax refunds that go undelivered or unclaimed.
Undelivered Federal Tax Refund Checks
Refund checks are mailed to your last known address. If you move without notifying the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), your refund check may be returned to the IRS.
If you were expecting a federal tax refund and did not receive it, check the IRS’ Where’s My Refundpage. You’ll need to enter your Social Security number, filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. You may be prompted to change your address online.
You can also call the IRS to check on the status of your refund. Wait times to speak with a representative can be long. But, you can avoid waiting by using the automated phone system. Follow the message prompts when you call.
Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds
If you are eligible for a federal tax refund and don’t file a return, then your refund will go unclaimed. Even if you aren’t required to file a return, it might benefit you to file if:
- Federal taxes were withheld from your pay
- You qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
You may not have filed a tax return because your wages were below the filing requirement. But you can still file a return within three years of the filing deadline to get your refund.
State Refund Checks
For information about your state tax refund check, contact your state revenue department.