CLEVELAND (WJW) – It’s a game of sorts that a lot of folks found fun and a way to win anywhere from a few bucks to even thousands of dollars.
All it takes is a quick check of your name in the Ohio Unclaimed Funds database.
“Over 70% of the claims that we receive can be paid out with just your state issued ID or your social security card,” said Akil Hardy, who runs the Ohio Unclaimed Funds program.
Hardy says it can be one of the easiest ways to get money that you’re owed. Over the years, the state has done a ton of outreach to get people to check the database, including going to places where a lot of Ohioans will gather.
The pandemic slowed things down, so they’ve had to get more creative.
“Over the past year, we’ve had to depend more on advertising in print or in digital and that’s been pretty productive for us. In February, we had a campaign centered around the first annual Unclaimed Property Day and that generated a lot of interest, a lot of buzz and a lot of claims.” Hardy said.
However, there’s still so much money available.
In Fiscal Year 2021, the state has taken in roughly $287 million in unclaimed funds. They only paid out claims for roughly $75 million.
In all, the state of Ohio is holding more than $2.6 billion in assets, just sitting there waiting for someone to claim it.
Some of these funds have been in state control for years from companies that don’t exist anymore, including insurance payments, old deposits on apartments, cable bills, phone bills and utilities. It could also be things like closed bank accounts or physical items like stamps, coins or jewelry left in a safety deposit box.
Hardy says no matter how small the amount, if you can prove it belongs to you, it should be in your pocket and not floating around in a state database.
“The money is held with us in perpetuity, so it’s not going anywhere. The rightful property owner, unless there is a law change, will always have an opportunity to claim their funds.” Hardy said.
For more information about how you can make a claim, click here.