This is a sponsored post and all stories and opinions are my own. Note: this program is for Illinois residents but your state may have something similar.
If you've ever opened a bank account and then forgotten to close it, like I have, then you know what it's like to find money. Heck, I put on a vest that I haven't worn since last winter and found $10 in a pocket and I think everyone knows what that's like. And this year, with a brand new grandbaby, we're probably going to go through more than one pocket to find extra money. (Because we cannot stop looking at cute little things. It's so ridiculous and wonderful all at once.)
There are other ways, too, that I have recently discovered and I'm really glad I was contacted to try this program out because all I had to do was enter my name and a zip code into the search to find it. Here's how it works:
1. Click this link to take you to Illinois Unclaimed Property, a program to see if there's money to be found.
2. Put your name and zip code in to start a search.
Tip: the If you've ever changed your name due to marriage or even again due to divorce, use all variations of your name to find it. I didn't find anything under "Wickham" or "Hurst", 2 last names I've inherited, but I did find it under my maiden name.
Another tip: use multiple combinations of zip codes in places you've lived. With 3 last names and at least 5 different zip codes I've lived in for the last 30 years I spent less than 10 minutes searching.
3. Sign the claim and authenticate your identity.
So, what is The Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash program? It's something set up in 1999 to help tens of thousands of people each year discover and claim old bank accounts, uncashed paychecks, unpaid insurance benefits and other unclaimed property. It shouldn't really sound too good to be true when I know that I, personally, have left money in accounts for various reasons. Sometimes, I thought I'd go back someday and live and bank in a certain place but once life gets going I have forgotten about it.
Currently, the Illinois Treasurer is safeguarding $2.5 billion in recovered cash belonging to millions of Illinois residents. For people who use the site they have found that 1 in 4 Illinois adults discover property with an average paid claim of $2,900. YOU GUYS. I COULD LIVE OFF THAT FOR 3 MONTHS AS I BUILD MY BUSINESS.
There's even better news for this program, not the least of which is that it frees up the state of Illinois from holding funds they need to release to individuals: most people receive a check within about four weeks of submitting their signed claim form and authentication of ownership.
The Illinois Treasurer's Office is tasked with safeguarding recovered property from banks, insurance companies, utilities, and other institutions across the country that haven't been able to be returned to rightful owners. Things like inactive bank accounts, unclaimed life insurance benefits, stocks, or matured CDs as well as other investments.
Their database has 17 million properties that also include safe deposit boxes. YOU GUYS. I HAD NO IDEA I HAD ANY MONEY OUT THERE.
That's it. Super easy.
There really is no hassle, but make sure you can authenticate your identify for this. Mine happened to be through Prudential Financial and, when I found it, it told me that the claim was over $100 so it was enough for me to follow through and see how much it would be. Try it, Illinois friends. You may find just enough in time for the holidays to get something you'd like and the surprise of finding money with an easy, online search made it worth my time (mine was over $300).
We're taking the money and reinvesting it for our grandchild and I plan on checking back every 6 months or so because some people have found claims more than once.
Your holidays might be a little happier with some extra cash.