Lincoln, Neb. — While out shopping for others this holiday season, Nebraskans still have time to give themselves a Christmas present by checking the Treasurer’s unclaimed property list, says Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg.
“We are happy to help Nebraskans search our unclaimed property list and file claims all year round. We enjoy helping people find money they didn’t know was missing, particularly at Christmas. You could say we’ve got some Santa’s helpers working in the Treasurer’s Office this time of year,” Stenberg said.
He encouraged Nebraskans to search at treasurer.nebraska.gov. “You never know what you might find,” he said.
“Especially heartwarming this time of year are stories of gratitude from Nebraskans who find property they didn’t know existed, sometimes from family trusts or insurance benefits from deceased relatives or loved ones. Unclaimed property – in large or small amounts – is welcomed any time of the year, and it is one of the best Christmas presents you can give yourself,” he said.
“We encourage all Nebraskans, former Nebraskans, and heirs to check our unclaimed property list throughout the year, but particularly this time of year. We currently are holding 23 properties of $100,000 or more for owners from as far away as Tokyo, Japan, to closer to home in Ansley, Nebraska. During the holidays, property owners are equally grateful for smaller amounts, too,” Stenberg said.
Altogether, the Treasurer’s Office is holding more than $170 million in unclaimed funds for more than 350,000 owners.
To date, the Treasurer’s Office has returned almost $13 million in 2018, paying out 15,772 claims. In the eight years since Treasurer Stenberg has been in office, more than $96 million of unclaimed property has been paid to 126,578 owners. The largest amount returned to owners in a single year in the history of the program was $16.3 million in 2016. The program began in 1969.
During Stenberg’s tenure in office, several measures have been taken to streamline the unclaimed property system, both for owners claiming money and for banks, businesses, and institutions turning over money to the state.
Two researchers in the Unclaimed Property Division devote their time to identify and seek out owners of large properties, while other specialists in the division concentrate on responding to claims filed by individuals through the website, mail, telephone, outreach events, or in person. Owners now may file claims online for properties $500 or less through the Treasurer’s website. The office also has implemented an online fast-track system, an automated verification system that doesn’t require staff time for claims meeting certain criteria.
Also, banks, businesses, and other organizations now can report their unclaimed property to the Treasurer’s Office, using a streamlined system developed by the office’s Information Technology staff specifically for Nebraska’s needs. Banks, businesses, and other organizations are able to create profiles, load records, and submit reports without leaving the Treasurer’s website. They may manually enter property and owner information or use an Excel template to upload records. Reports are archived on the holder’s profile for future reference. There is no charge to use the Treasurer’s reporting service.
Common forms of unclaimed property are uncashed paychecks, refunds, rental deposits, utility deposits, stocks, dividends, insurance benefits, savings bonds, matured CDs, and lost IRAs.
Ways to search for unclaimed property and file claims include the following:
- Check the Nebraska State Treasurer’s website. Type a name in the search box on the home page or click on the Unclaimed Property tab at the top of the page.
- For an amount less than $500, an owner may file a claim online through the website. The owner must include required information.
- For an amount greater than $500, an owner may complete the claim form found on the website and mail to the State Treasurer’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division, 809 P St., Lincoln, NE 68508-1390. The form must be notarized.
- Call the Unclaimed Property Division at 1-877-572-9688 or 402-471-8497 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., CT, weekdays.
- Visit the Unclaimed Property office at 809 P Street in Lincoln or in the Treasurer’s Office in Suite 2005 of the State Capitol. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. An owner should bring a driver’s license and Social Security card.
- If filing on behalf of a deceased family member for an amount greater than $500, the owner will be asked to provide documentation to establish legal authority to file the claim including a will, death certificate, obituary notice, and personal representative documents.