The Tennessee Department of Treasury reports nearly $13 million in unclaimed property is currently available in the Upper Cumberland.
Shelli King serves as the Department of Treasury’s Director of Communications.
“In short note, unclaimed property is money that’s been turned over to the state by businesses and organizations that can’t find the right owners,” King said. “So they turn it over to the Tennessee Department of Treasury’s Division of Unclaimed Property, and we work to get it back in the right hands.”
Statistics from the Department of Treasury indicate over $3.8 million in unclaimed property is available in Cumberland County alone. Over $3.6 million is available in Putnam County while another $1 million is unclaimed in DeKalb County.
King said there are several ways in which funds can go unnoticed by individuals and go back to the state as unclaimed property.
“Businesses turn these back over, and it could be a company that has sent a last paycheck and it wasn’t cashed by an individual,” King said. “It could be a refund check from a utility company or a deposit you put down. [Or] it could be a checking account that’s just gone untouched for a determined amount of time.”
King said the Department of Treasury typically notifies residents of unclaimed property in their name via mail based on the person’s last known address.
“The next thing that we do after a certain point in time is we’re going to look and see if we got a social security number that came over with that property from the business,” King said. “If we do, we’re going to run a match through the Department of Labor and Workforce’s records, and you may get a letter at your place of employment that says you have money in the Treasury’s Division of Unclaimed Property.”
King said unclaimed funds date back to the program’s inception during the 1970s and 1980s, and citizens are not charged for claiming unclaimed property.
“If you go in and search for your name, you can go ahead and file a claim online and we will not ask you to pay a fee,” King said. “There is also never a time frame that you’re required to claim your property by. Tennessee allows you to make those claims at any point. You can also file a claim for a deceased relative. You’ll have to give some additional paperwork for that, but there is never a point in time where the money doesn’t belong to the rightful owner.”
King said just under $1 billion have gone unclaimed across the state, with most funds coming from highly-populated areas. Citizens can visit ClaimItTN.gov to search by name or property ID for any unclaimed property.