Unclaimed money

Oregon treasury doles out another $3.5 million in unclaimed funds, with more coming in June

FILE: $100 bills. (NEXSTAR)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – More money is heading to Oregonians in April as the state treasurer’s office works to reunite people with their unclaimed checks. 

On April 14, the Oregon State Treasury will distribute $3.5 million to approximately 8,800 people as part of its ongoing efforts to reunite residents with funds that have remained unclaimed from the years 2018, 2019 and 2020. 

This disbursement of $3.5 million is for unclaimed funds reported to the state in 2019. In February, the state issued more than $3 million in unclaimed funds from 2018 and in June it will send the third wave of unclaimed funds that were reported to the state in 2020. 

Unclaimed funds can include uncashed checks, forgotten bank accounts, tax refunds, credit card balances, investment accounts, payroll checks and more. 

Typically, people need to file a claim with Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program to receive the funds they’re owed. But in 2023, the treasurer’s office is conducting “Checks Without Claims” to proactively identify some owners of unclaimed assets and ship their payments directly to them. 

For the money sent in February and the disbursement that’s about to go out in April, the Oregon State Treasury verifies a person’s identity and address before sending the money. The state sends letters to everyone they’ll mail a check to, so they know to expect it in the mail and to help the state validate their address. 

With the third phase of checks, the state will begin sending those initial letters out on May 1. 

Through the Checks Without Claims initiative, the treasury plans to return approximately $10 million in unclaimed funds to Oregonians by June 2023. 

The Oregon State Treasury took over responsibility for unclaimed property from the Oregon Department of State Lands in July 2021. Treasurer Tobias Read told KOIN 6 News the treasury has been trying to catch up on unclaimed funds that accumulated from 2018-2020. 

This is the largest mass disbursement of funds by Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program to date. While returning $10 million to people may seem like a lot, it’s only a fraction of what remains to be claimed in Oregon. 

The state is currently holding more than $1 billion in unclaimed funds. 

Anyone can go to unclaimed.oregon.gov and search for their name to claim their funds. 

People who received letters informing them about forthcoming checks from the Checks Without Claims initiative should wait for the check to arrive rather than submit a claim online. 

While money remains unclaimed, it serves as the principal amount in the Common School Fund. The interest made off the money goes to support K-12 education in Oregon. Money can be removed from the principal amount at any time. 

The state also holds onto unclaimed property, which can be reunited with its rightful owner or next of kin. These are things that are sometimes recovered from safe deposit boxes and can include items like jewelry, coins, art, books and military medals.  

If left unclaimed for an extended period of time, the state will eventually hold an auction for some items. For the more sentimental items, like military medals, the state will work to return them to family members. 

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