This post was sponsored by the Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash program. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.
Who do you know who doesn’t light up when thCash ey reach into a coat pocket to discover a $5 or $20 bill? Is there anyone who can’t use a little extra cash? As I’m spending money left and right this summer (or so it seems) keeping my two children occupied and happy, I keep hearing the radio commercials about the recovered cash that the Illinois Treasurer is safeguarding for Illinois residents.
Needless to say, I knew I had to search for myself. If I am owed money but don’t know it, I’d like to collect on that. It could be a chai latte at Starbucks or a week of camp for the wee ones, but I’d never know if I didn’t look. There’s a lot of recovered money out there. And a lot of people who have already recovered money.
The recovered property can be all sorts of things, anything from unclaimed wages from a job to stock dividends to overpaid bills that were never refunded and more. The Illinois Treasurer’s I-program currently has $2.1 billion waiting to be returned to rightful owners.
Searching my own name was easy. Because I have a fairly common name, if I simply input my name, more than 250 results show up across the state – but there is a 250 limit that can be shown. That is a lot of unclaimed property! Fortunately, you can also include a city to narrow the results. That allowed me to rule out my name for any refunds owed (unfortunately), although a small part of me is happy that I haven’t had money just sitting around.
Looking up my sister, I found a few small payments from a newspaper subscription she canceled when moving and such. One in four Illinois adults who search the I-Cash database finds property to claim, and the average claim paid is $1,000. My sister recovered likely around $20, but I had a feeling that someone else in my family would find more.
My mom’s entire family also lives in Illinois, and I had fun searching for recovered money for them, as well. And that’s where it got interesting.
My mother’s aunt is a hilarious woman, far ahead of her times. She has a huge personality, and she’s a matriarch in the truest sense of the world. She’s aging now, and she’s packed away many of her dreams. Fortunately for her, it may be time to unpack some of those dreams.
When I searched her name, I found 129 recovered properties. One hundred twenty-nine. The vast majority were valued between $10 and $100 and were from what looks like unpaid stock dividends. Until we gain confirmation from the state, we won’t know the exact value of the properties, but we’re setting the claim process in motion.
If the value of these properties is just at the midpoint of $50, that’s $6,450 for my great aunt. Three of the properties appear to actually be the stock certificates themselves with a completely undetermined value, the I-Cash website lists them as over $100, which may be a very modest assessment.
She currently lives in a retirement home, and her days of travel have passed. Or so she thought. Without any other responsibilities and in pretty good health in general, she’s free to use this found money however she pleases.
When my mom called her with the news, she broke down into tears of joy. She had no idea, and we’re pretty sure these are from stocks her husband had bought, but he’s long passed away now.
This isn’t life changing money, but it opens doors that had closed to her. She’s talking about going to Florida to visit friends she made when she and her husband used to have a house there. She’s talking about taking a trip with her daughter and granddaughters to a beach they’ve never been to before, all because of recovered money she didn’t know she had.
This money to her isn’t just money. It’s a way to renew and strengthen the bonds of friendship and family that she developed over the years, and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. She’s not my only family member I found on the I-Cash database. She definitely had the largest number of items for any one family member, but it’s amazing to me how many relatives I have with unclaimed property. Our next family reunion is going to be fun!