CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State Treasurer John Perdue’s unclaimed property division has already returned $12.2 million during fiscal 2016, easily surpassing fiscal 2015’s $9.1 million figure.
The surge represents a 34 percent increase in dollar value and 1,300 additional claims filed than in fiscal 2015, with nearly an entire month to go in the year. It also does not include a $200,000 claim paid on June 1.
“We take returning unclaimed property seriously,” Treasurer Perdue said. “This is the second year in a row that our end-of-year totals have eclipsed the previous fiscal year’s numbers. I credit that to mailed letters to rightful owners, website maintenance, field representatives’ hard work and continued, twice-a-year publication of names in newspaper inserts.
“It’s truly been a banner year and shows that my office is continuing to do its duty, despite the budgetary uncertainty in which we find ourselves.”
Figures show that stale-dated checks – those issued by the state that have not been cashed in in six months – have been on the rise this fiscal year. Life insurance-related claims comprise about $400,000 of that figure. Treasurer Perdue waged a legislative battle this past session to ensure insurance companies turn over policy proceeds of the deceased.
Unclaimed property is any financial asset from which an individual has become unintentionally separated. Real estate is not included. Examples are left-behind utility deposits; a forgotten final paycheck; and abandoned safe deposit boxes.
West Virginia has returned approximately $160 million in unclaimed property during Treasurer Perdue’s five terms in office.