Last week "The Early Show" told you about two very useful websites that can help Americans find $33 billion in unclaimed cash. We got such a huge response to that segment that we decided to bring back CBS News Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, who has uncovered more methods for finding cash that is owed to you.
Missing Money: Where and How to Recover It
For people who didn't see the original segment, the two sites are MissingMoney.com and Unclaimed.org. They're linked up to the state treasury departments across the country that track unclaimed money. Examples of unclaimed money can be old bank accounts you forgot about; stock dividends; insurance refunds; annuities, customer overpayments, and more.
You search your name and the states you've lived in. If your name appears, you'll need to fill out a form with more personal information, including your social security number, and send in your claim to receive the cash. It varies from state to state, but you should receive your money within a few weeks.
"The Early Show" got a lot of great feedback, with people finding dollar amounts both big and small.
On "The Early Show" Facebook page, Melissa writes, "$10 dollars for me. LOL. A couple of family members found money also. Thanks for the website."
And on our website, we received the comment, "I just found $370! Thanks CBS!"
But perhaps the best measure of success, Jarvis said "The Early Show" reached out to the folks who run MissingMoney.com. On an average week they receive about 1.2 million searches and 21,000 claims. After our segment, the numbers spiked to 3.4 million searches and nearly 85,000 claims!
But there are more places to find lost money. Jarvis shared these additional resources:
For Pension Plans:
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has searchable database at PBGC.gov to determine whether you are owed any pension benefits if your pension plan no longer exists because it was closed or was taken over by the pension agency. You can search by name; by state; or even by company. Once you find your name you can make a claim online or over the phone. Currently, they're holding about $194 million dollars in unclaimed defined benefit pension plans.You can also can track down the benefits if you are a survivor of the person who should be receiving the pension.
For Your Federal Tax Refund:
Go to the IRS's website -- IRS.gov -- and click on "Where's my refund?" You'll need to provide your Social Security number, your filing status, and the exact dollar amount you're expecting. It will tell you whether the check has been sent or was returned undeliverable. If you've recently moved, you can update your address from there to have the check resent. Last year, the IRS had $123 million dollars in the form of 108,000 checks that came back undeliverable. The average undeliverable refund check was over $1,100 -- so again, we're talking about a lot of money.
Any time you're asked to hold a piece of paper for 20 years before you cash it in, there is a good chance you will forget about it or lose it. But sitting on those bonds without cashing them in is like giving a free loan to the government. The best site to check on their status is TreasuryDirect.gov. If you think you have uncashed savings bonds in your name that are missing or lost, click on "Treasury Hunt." And for bonds issued after 1974, you can provide your social security number, or that of the person whose name it may be in, to find if there is a match. Then it will give you information and forms with instructions on how to claim it. And if you just want to see how much your savings bonds are worth, click on the Calculator to find out if they've matured, by entering the series number.
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