(TRENTON) – As part of the Department of the Treasury’s ongoing efforts to reconnect state-held assets to their rightful owners, the Unclaimed Property Administration (UPA) has launched a veterans outreach campaign, which has uncovered as many as 3,000 veterans and widows in New Jersey who may have unclaimed assets, resulting in over $200,000 being returned to families thus far.
“We considered the many sacrifices military families endure, including how frequently service men and women move as a result of deployment,” said UPA Administrator Steven R. Harris. “These factors often increase the chances that certain financial assets are overlooked or never received. While we always find our work rewarding, reconnecting veterans and their families with assets they never knew they had has been particularly special.”
“This is a Treasury that works for the people of New Jersey, and UPA is a huge part of that effort,” said State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. “It’s not enough for us to just be careful stewards of these assets, we have to do everything we can to help people reclaim them. We’re excited with the results of this ongoing campaign and encourage everyone in the state to try an online search right now.”
The most common types of unclaimed property reported to the state are checking and savings accounts, certificate of deposits, utility deposits, securities, and insurance proceeds. The N.J. Unclaimed Property statute states that property owners never relinquish the right to this property and that UPA acts as a custodian until the property is returned.
The veterans outreach campaign was launched in October 2018. After partnering with divisions within Treasury, UPA was then able to cross reference its own database with thousands of records that reference an individual’s veteran status. As a result, UPA was able to identify over 3,000 veterans, widows, or heirs who may have unclaimed assets in their name.
UPA then began sending letters in early November notifying those individuals that they might have unclaimed property and instructing them to visit UPA’s website to file electronically or initiate a claim over the phone. Once all necessary documentation was received, UPA prepared claims for payment.
The ongoing campaign, which will continue in the New Year, has already begun yielding success. To date, responses to mail notices have resulted in 251 UPA claims, 133 of which have already been approved worth a total of $200,487.02.
Highlights from the campaign thus far include an individual who discovered that they had over $85,000 worth of securities that had gone unclaimed until now. Another person to respond to a UPA notice turned out to be a widow of a World War II veteran who discovered over $2,000 in outstanding life insurance proceeds.
This outreach campaign is one of a number undertaken by UPA every year to return state-held assets to their rightful owners. To find more information about UPA or to try an online search, visit www.unclaimedproperty.nj.gov.