The following was a message shared from the office of Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs:
I have good news to share with you.
We successfully returned $226 million in lost and misplaced money to an estimated 174,000 people last year despite an economy struggling under the weight and fear of a global pandemic.
The unclaimed property program, often referred to as I-Cash, safeguards unclaimed property such as unpaid life insurance benefits, forgotten bank accounts and unused rebate cards until it can be returned to its owner. The state treasurer is required to return the money no matter how long it takes. I-Cash is one of the state’s oldest consumer protection initiatives.
Common-sense improvements to the unclaimed property program make this effort quicker, easier, and more efficient. These advancements allowed us to return nearly $1.2 billion during the past five years. Incredibly, leveraging technology and streamlining the process has allowed us to nearly triple the number of processed claims annually, from 60,000 to 174,000.
Paperless claims now are available. Also, we worked with legislators to allow the treasurer’s office to send unclaimed property checks directly to qualifying individuals without the need to initiate a claim. Importantly, we fought for reforms that require insurance companies to be more vigilant in locating life insurance beneficiaries.
We continue to safeguard $3.5 billion in unclaimed property. Typically, a bank account, investment product or contents of a safe deposit box is turned over to the Illinois treasurer’s office if there is no activity for three-to-five years. Unclaimed property is submitted twice each year; financial institutions in the fall and non-financial institutions, such as business associations, utilities, and life insurance companies, in the spring.
Maybe we have something that belongs to you. Please visit www.illinoistreasurer.gov/ICash to claim what is yours.
Michael W. Frerichs
Illinois State Treasurer