The state’s General Fund got a $69 million boost recently from the collection of unclaimed property, according to State Treasurer Denise Nappier.
The amount generated from unclaimed property that was deposited into the general fund was 56 percent more than was projected, and more than triple the $22.9 million deposited during the previous fiscal year, Nappier said.
Assets deemed “unclaimed property” are things like dormant balances in savings and checking accounts, uncashed checks for insurance benefits, commission or wages, and other financial assets like securities. Once such assets have gone unclaimed for a certain period of time – generally, three years – they are turned over annually to the state treasury.
For the most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30, the money comes at a time when the state is grappling with a significant budget gap and seeking additional revenue sources.
“This unexpected windfall helped to reduce the state’s deficit,” Nappier said. “And every dollar we receive in unclaimed property means one less dollar from taxpayers, because we deposit these monies into the general fund which helps pay for critically needed state programs, such as public health, public safety, education, social services and consumer protection.”
State officials attribute the higher collections to increased efforts to account for unclaimed property, including audits of companies that hold unclaimed property, as well as the use of auditing firms, certified self-examinations and other measures.
In addition to the $69 million the state received, $61 million in unclaimed property was returned to more than 17,800 rightful owners during the most recent fiscal year, she said.
“The increase demonstrates the success of the Treasury’s efforts to strengthen collections, making these funds available for the public good while seeking to return them to the rightful owners,” Nappier said.
Among the unclaimed property discovered, there was an “unexpected” increase in the value of unclaimed securities, Nappier said. The sale of those securities yielded $42 million, more than twice the $20 million that had been projected for the 2015 fiscal year.
State law allows the treasurer to sell abandoned securities and deposit proceeds directly into the general fund. Owners can get them back, however, if they choose to claim them.
“Rightful owners of these securities may step forward to claim their monies at any time, and they can be assured they will get back the full value of what was turned over to the state for safekeeping,” Nappier said.
Gross receipts in unclaimed property — the total amount before payments of claims, a state-mandated transfer of some funds into the Citizens’ Election Fund, and other expenses — totaled more than $148 million during the year, according to Nappier’s office. That figure surpassed projections by $53 million.
The state still is holding roughly $710 million in unclaimed property. The treasury’s website, at www.CTBigList.com, lists about 1.3 million names of people and organizations that may be entitled to property.
Nappier encourages individuals to check the site, which has a searchable database that is updated with new names weekly. The site provides anyone on the list with a property identification number, and the database is searchable by name or property ID.
Those who own abandoned property can claim it at any time at no charge.