What is Florida Unclaimed Money?
Unclaimed money in Florida is a term used to describe assets that the state regards as abandoned by the owner after a set amount of time. Per the Florida Unclaimed Property Act, financial institutions in Florida must turn over the custody of unclaimed property, including unclaimed funds, to the Unclaimed Property Division of the Florida Department of Financial Services for safekeeping after a dormancy period.
The dormancy period varies depending on the financial institution - from one year for unpaid wages to fifteen years for travelers' checks. Eventually, the Division of Unclaimed Property shall take over as a temporary holder to preserve and protect the owner's interest until the owner reclaims the assets and any accrued interest.
The Division of Unclaimed Property only secures the unclaimed funds in a custodial capacity. The agency can only exercise its fiscal responsibility to keep unclaimed funds safely or in an investment vehicle until the true owner claims it. The government never takes ownership of unclaimed property or unclaimed funds. Instead, public officers make efforts to locate the true owners by continually publishing a government list of unclaimed money in newspapers or online.
How To Find Unclaimed Money in Florida
The most accessible way to find unclaimed money in Florida is to check the unclaimed property website. Interested persons may initiate a search for unclaimed money with their last names or business name, and the database will return all outstanding unclaimed funds. Although using only a last name is acceptable, it is best practice to narrow down the search by providing more details like a first and middle name. A search will provide a list of the names, account numbers, and residential addresses. The searcher may then click on the most applicable search result to view additional information and the type of unclaimed money. If the details match, the searcher may follow the on-screen prompts to submit a claim.
Besides the online database, the Florida Division of Unclaimed Property regularly publishes a list of recently discovered unclaimed money and property in public newspapers. There are also designated officials who visit state fairs with a list of unclaimed funds and invite interested members of the public to look up their names.
Unclaimed money in the United States is public and can be accessed by anyone through official or non-governmental services. Third-party unclaimed money search engines are easy to use and deliver fast results not limited by geographic region. Users can typically search for unclaimed money through third-party search sites using just a full name or business name. However, because these sites are not government-sponsored, the availability and accuracy of results can vary.
How Do I Find Florida Unclaimed Money for Free?
The Florida Division of Unclaimed Property does not charge a fee for claiming unclaimed funds, and searching the online unclaimed property database is also free. Besides this state agency, other federal agencies maintain various databases that Florida residents can use to find unclaimed money for free, from owed back wages to federal tax refunds.
Unclaimed Florida Tax Refunds
Taxpayers who postpone filing tax refunds or fail to cash refund checks will have unclaimed funds with the Florida Department of Revenue. These funds are available for claiming on the Department's website, provided the claimant can provide supporting documentation. Alternatively, contact the state agency at:
Florida Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 6490
Tallahassee, FL 32314-6490
Fax: (850) 410-2526
Unpaid Back Wages and Salaries
The Wages and Hours Division of the Department of Labor uses administrative and legal methods to collect back wages and unpaid remunerations from employers in Florida. This money is then paid to the affected workers who submit a claim. The agency also publishes a list of persons with unclaimed wages in its custody on the unclaimed money database. Concerned persons may file online, contact the Division on (866) 487-9243, or visit the local office in Florida to process payment for the unclaimed funds.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has a self-help guide for finding unclaimed pensions in 401k accounts and other private pension plans. Parties may also check the PBGC database for unclaimed pensions. Alternatively, persons who believe they have unclaimed pensions may call or schedule a visit to the PBGC office at:
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
1200 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4026
Phone: (800) 326-5678
Unclaimed Veterans' Life Insurance Funds
The Veterans' Life Insurance Fund is a financial blanket for service members and dependents of service members during and after active duty. When the funds from this insurance plan go unclaimed, the Department of Veterans Affairs will report it as unclaimed. Concerned individuals can find unclaimed insurance benefits on the Department of Veteran Affairs database. These persons may also call or schedule a visit to the local VA office.
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Local office directory
Phone: (800) 827-1000
Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds
Overpaying on federal taxes happens for several reasons, from life events like marriage to changes in income. The Internal Revenue Service simply removes the due tax amount and refunds the difference to the taxpayer via checks, savings bonds, or direct deposit, depending on the size of the refund. When these reimbursements go unclaimed, the IRS will report them as unclaimed money. A taxpayer with unclaimed federal tax refunds may check the IRS refunds database or visit the nearest IRS office in Florida to process the unclaimed refund.
Unclaimed Credit Union Deposits
Members of credit unions have access to traditional banking services and certain benefits. And like banks, these members must have accounts used for receiving loans and making deposits for loan repayments. Often, members leave or forget about the money in these accounts for too long a time. In such cases, the credit union will report the money as unclaimed. The National Credit Union Administration will also put the unclaimed deposits on its database. Concerned persons may search the database or contact the Administration for unclaimed credit union deposits.
National Credit Union Administration
4807 Spicewood Springs Road, Suite 5100
Austin, TX 78759
Phone: (512) 231-7900
Fax: (512) 231-7920
Unclaimed Harmed Investors' Funds
The Securities and Exchange Commission exists to protect persons who invest in US securities - such as stocks, commodities, derivatives, and other financial instruments. This agency also investigates fraudulent activities by entities involved in financial activities and recovers funds for harmed investors. Investors who have been victims of securities fraud may search the US Securities and Exchange Commission database for unclaimed funds or contact the SEC directly.
US Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549
Regional offices directory
Phone: (202) 551-6551
Unclaimed Matured Savings Bonds
US bonds have maturation terms of up to thirty (30) years, and it is common for investors to leave the money for that long. However, the long-term nature of this investment also means it is common for investors and their kin to leave the money unclaimed after maturation. In such cases, the investment firm or the US Treasury Department will report the funds as unclaimed money. Information on this unclaimed money and how to process a claim is available on the US Treasury Department database. Alternatively, contact the government agency on (844) 284-2676 and (202) 622-2000. Claimants may also send an email to email@example.com.
Unclaimed Bankruptcy Funds
Bankruptcy involves liquidating a debtor's assets to repay creditors or setting up a payment plan to repay a debt. Either way, a court-assigned bankruptcy trustee oversees the liquidation and repayment to creditors. When the funds remain unclaimed by creditors because of death, uncashed distribution checks, or listing an invalid address, the court will report the funds as unclaimed money. Creditors and relatives may check for unclaimed funds using the US Courts Unclaimed Funds Locator.
Unclaimed Mortgage Refunds
When refunds and payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development go uncashed, the agency shall report the funds as unclaimed money. Information about this unclaimed money and instructions for finding and claiming the funds is available on the HUD unclaimed money database. Homeowners with an FHA-insured mortgage with missed or uncashed payments or refunds may also contact the agency directly at:
451 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20410
Phone: (800) 697-6967
Unclaimed Funds In A Foreign Country
The Bureau of Fiscal Service makes provisions for eligible nationals to receive compensation for covered losses incurred as a result of US military operations in a foreign country. Search the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission database to check for these funds, file a claim, or recover unclaimed payments.
How To Claim Unclaimed Money in Florida?
Persons who wish to claim unclaimed money in Florida must first confirm the existence of the money and the holder. Then, the individual must follow the holder's specific instructions or contact the holder themselves. For unclaimed funds in the custody of the Florida Division of Unclaimed Property, the claim process begins with an online search. Upon identifying unclaimed property, the claimant must follow the on-screen prompts to initiate a claim.
Generally, the system will ask the claimant if the original owner is still alive and the claimant's relationship to the rightful owner. Answering these questions leads the claimant to a portal where they will be requested to provide their personal information, including social security numbers, mail address, daytime phone number, and email address for correspondence.
Upon receiving this claim, the Florida Department of Financial Services (the parent agency for the Unclaimed Property Division) will send a letter to the claimant. The letter will request that the individual provide supporting documentation to prove a legal relationship to the unclaimed funds. Some acceptable supporting documentation includes a driver's license or an old utility bill. Third-party claimants acting on the original owner's behalf must submit additional documents. For example, heirs or surviving relatives must provide vital records establishing their relationship with the original owner. Likewise, a court-appointed probate administrator and a trustee must provide supporting court documents and the deceased owner's will, respectively.
When the Division of Unclaimed Property receives these supporting documents, administrative staff will review the claim and approve or deny the claim. If approved, the claimant will receive a check for the equivalent amount of the unclaimed funds and any accrued interests. Conversely, if the state agency denies the claim for unclaimed funds, the claimant must provide additional supporting documentation.
How Long Does It Take To Get Unclaimed Money in Florida?
It depends. On average, a Florida claimant who provides all the necessary documents and has a valid claim can expect to receive unclaimed funds within 30 days. The turnover time is, however, longer for persons who do not file claims correctly or cannot provide supporting documentation. This latter category of people can contact the Division of Unclaimed Property at (888) 258-2253 for assistance.
Who Can Claim Florida Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives?
Direct heirs and surviving family members, as well as will executors and court-appointed administrators of probate, can file claim unclaimed funds from deceased persons in Florida. These individuals must provide vital records and supporting documentation proving their relationship to the deceased relative before the Division of Unclaimed Property will release the unclaimed funds.
What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Florida if No One Claims It?
Every year, the Division of Unclaimed Property pays out an average of $349 million. There is no deadline on when the original owner or their legal representatives may claim unclaimed funds in Florida. The state shall continue to hold the unclaimed funds in perpetuity until an eligible person files a claim. Thereafter, the individual will receive the funds, along with accrued interest.
Can Someone in Florida Claim Unclaimed Money From Another State?
Yes. Persons who are currently living in Florida but hold financial accounts in other states may file a claim for unclaimed funds in that state. The procedure involves searching the official government list of unclaimed money, which is typically available online. Some states require claimants to submit claims in person or via mail. In any way, the fact remains that anyone can claim their unclaimed money or a relative's unclaimed money in another state.