Where To Find Unclaimed Money

Where To Find Unclaimed Money


There’s nothing quite like finding unexpected cash in one of your old purses or hidden underneath a couch cushion — except finding unclaimed money in an online database. The kind of money you find there is probably much more than a few pennies or crumpled dollar bills.


Looking for lost or unclaimed funds online feels like a real-life treasure hunt, but without all the work. In most cases, you can run a check from the comfort of your couch. The Department of Treasury, various financial institutions, insurance companies, and more all offer ways to help you find cash that rightfully belongs to you, but for some reason you never received. 


There’s a chance that the funds — if there are any — could just be pocket change, but there’s also just as much opportunity that you can strike gold. Since these services are free, it never hurts to check. Here are a few places to look for unclaimed money.


Old Pension And Retirement Funds

Where to look: 



The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is a federal agency designed to help workers find unclaimed pension money from a previous employer. PenChecks Trust is another place worth checking out. It provides a list of unclaimed retirement funds that may have your name on it.


Life Insurance Plans

Where to look: 



The VA provides an online registry to search for benefits you may not have received from a life insurance policy. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is another organization that can help point you in the right direction, too.


Federal Tax Returns

Where to look: 



If you never received a tax refund within the last three years, visit the IRS Where’s My Refund page. The IRS will only let you claim your money from the previous three years, so anything after that is gone forever. One way to avoid this problem is by keeping the address you have on file with the IRS updated whenever you move.


State Tax Agencies

Where to look: 


  • Go to Google, enter your state and “unclaimed money” into the search bar, and click on your state’s official website for unclaimed funds.


Generally, each state runs its own database where you can search for lost or unclaimed cash, including previous state tax refunds or funds from an old bank account. 


Bank Accounts

Where to look:



The first two websites are run by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, an organization that helps people find money from forgotten or closed bank accounts. But if you banked with a credit union, you will want to visit the last site operated by the National Credit Union Administration. 


Uncollected Back Wages

Where to look:



Did you ever work for an employer where things ended on a less-than-positive note, or you left in a rush and never received your last payment? You can find these missing back wages on the website above, managed by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.


Savings Bonds

Where to look:



If you once held savings bonds that were either lost, stolen, or destroyed, you can get them back through the Department of Treasury and completing Form 1048.


Your 2020 Stimulus Check

Where to look: 



It’s hard to forget the $1,200 stimulus checks provided by the federal government in the springtime. The relief bill was a valuable asset to many people during the pandemic’s height, but there were many cases of people never receiving their checks. 


If the IRS never mailed you a check or sent it as a direct deposit, visit the Get My Payment Page on the government website. You should act quickly, however, because you only have until November 21 to file a claim.


Get Ready To Claim Your Money

If you do find unclaimed money waiting for you on one of these databases, your next step is to claim it. This step may be more complicated, depending on how much money you want to claim. 


Generally, you will have to answer a survey about your finances and verify your identity when you make a claim. If you performed a search for a deceased relative, you would need a death certificate or possibly a complete probate court order.


Be wary of fake websites and fraudulent services. Searching for unclaimed money and filing a claim is always free, so ignore anything that offers to help you for a price.


  • Williams, Geoff. “How to Find Unclaimed Money.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 21 Oct. 2020, money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/saving-and-budgeting/articles/how-to-find-unclaimed-money.