What Is Unclaimed Money in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, cash and cash equivalents become unclaimed money when the owner intentionally or inadvertently ceases all financial activities for an extended period and a financial institution's efforts to locate or contact the individual fail. The most common types of unclaimed money in New Jersey include bank account balances, insurance benefits, stocks, dividends, tax refunds, estate liquidation proceeds during bankruptcy, pensions, and unpaid back wages. The time it takes for each of these to enter dormancy varies.
When money becomes unclaimed, the New Jersey Uniform Unclaimed Property Act directs the financial institution or company with custody of the money to report the funds and escheat the total amount to the New Jersey Unclaimed Property Administration. The state agency is a temporary holder until the rightful owner or heirs make a valid claim for the abandoned funds.
How To Find New Jersey Unclaimed Money
Businesses and financial institutions report the money as unclaimed every year, and the New Jersey Unclaimed Property Administration compiles a government list of unclaimed money. This list is available as a searchable online database, and any member of the public may search for unclaimed funds using the owner's full name or business name. Persons who perform this name-based search can expect to see the names of persons with unclaimed funds and last known addresses. If the information provided fits with the searcher's information, the database also lets searchers make an online claim for unclaimed money that appears on the search results. Besides finding unclaimed money online, interested persons may also call or send a mail request to find unclaimed funds to:
Unclaimed Property Administration
P.O. Box 214
Trenton, NJ 08625-0214
Phone: (609) 292-9200
Unclaimed money in the United States is public and can be accessed by anyone through official or non-governmental services. Third-party unclaimed money search engines are easy to use and deliver fast results not limited by geographic region. Users can typically search for unclaimed money through third-party search sites using just a full name or business name. However, because these sites are not government-sponsored, the availability and accuracy of results can vary.
How Do I Find Unclaimed Money for Free in New Jersey?
The New Jersey Unclaimed Property Administration provides a free website for finding unclaimed money. However, the database is only applicable to unclaimed money reported by businesses and financial institutions in the state. Persons who wish to expand this search to find unclaimed money with federal agencies and even financial institutions outside the country may use the resources provided in the list below.
Unclaimed State Tax Refunds
The New Jersey Division of Taxation reimburses the difference left when taxpayers overpay their taxes. When these tax refunds go uncollected for several years, the Division of Taxation reports the funds as unclaimed money. A taxpayer can still recover these funds by checking their refund status and filing a claim online.
Unpaid Back Wages and Salaries
Employees in New Jersey may search the Wages and Hours Division's unclaimed money database to find and collect due unclaimed money. Alternatively, parties can call the division on (866) 487-9243 or visit the local office in New Jersey. The Wages and Hours Division recovers unpaid wages, workers' misclassification wages, and money that an employer should pay a worker but withheld. Then, the agency contacts the affected worker and invites them to file a claim. When this money goes unclaimed for several years, the agency reports it as unclaimed funds.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) insures pension plans so that Americans who have retired from work still get their pensions even when their original company goes bankrupt or ceases to exist. Parties can find and claim this money on the PBGC unclaimed pensions database. Alternatively, persons who think they have unclaimed pensions may contact the PBGC at:
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
1200 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4026
Phone: (800) 326-5678
Unclaimed Veterans' Life Insurance Funds
The Department of Veteran Affairs maintains a searchable database that beneficiaries of veterans' life insurance funds can use to find and collect unclaimed benefits. The agency set up the veterans' life insurance fund as financial security for veterans and dependents. These individuals will receive regular checks when a service member becomes disabled, injured, or dies during active duty or after discharge. Sometimes, these benefits go uncollected, and the VA reports them as unclaimed funds. Beneficiaries can also call or schedule a visit to the agency using the information below:
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Local office directory
Phone: (800) 827-1000
Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds
The federal government generally refunds excess tax payments to the taxpayer through checks, direct deposits, and tax credits. When a taxpayer fails to collect these refunds, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports the unclaimed money. Information on collecting this unclaimed money is available on the Internal Revenue Service refunds database. Alternatively, the taxpayer may visit the local IRS office (see local office directory) or call the IRS helpline on (800) 829-1040.
Unclaimed Credit Union Deposits
Deposits in credit union accounts become unclaimed money after three years of inactivity. The same applies to cases where the credit union is liquidated, and the shareholder does not cash the share amount after 18 months. The National Credit Union Administration then tags the money as unclaimed and puts it on the unclaimed deposits database. Claimants may also contact the administration directly via:
National Credit Union Administration
4807 Spicewood Springs Road, Suite 5100
Austin, TX 78759
Phone: (512) 231-7900
Fax: (512) 231-7920
Unclaimed Harmed Investors' Funds
Investors who have been victims of securities fraud may search the US Securities and Exchange Commission database for unclaimed funds. The Securities and Exchange Commission investigates and recovers funds from fraudulent securities activities by corporations, brokers, and financial advisors in the United States. A third-party funds administrator, set up by the SEC, is responsible for using the funds recovered to repay harmed investors in these cases. Alternatively, visit the regional office or call the SEC helpline for assistance.
US Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549
Regional offices directory
Phone: (202) 551-6551
Unclaimed Funds in a Foreign Country
US nationals eligible to receive compensation from government-to-government settlement agreements may search the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission database. These settlement agreements generally apply to persons who suffered bodily injury, loss, or property damage due to US military operations in a foreign country. The same applies to persons whose property was nationalized by a foreign government. Besides searching the database, eligible claimants may also contact the commission directly:
Unclaimed Matured Savings Bonds
Eligible claimants may find unclaimed bonds for themselves and relatives by searching the US Treasury Department database. Another way to do this is to contact the government agency directly on (844) 284-2676 and (202) 622-2000 or send an email to email@example.com.
US bonds typically have a maturation date of up to 30 years, after which the bondholder may redeem the investment. The length of this investment means the proceeds may go unclaimed unless the buyer had made arrangements to liquidate the investment beforehand. In cases where the bond and accrued interest go unclaimed for more than three years, the investment firm or the US Treasury Department will report the funds as unclaimed money.
Unclaimed Bankruptcy Funds
Use the US Courts Unclaimed Funds Locator to manually check for unclaimed bankruptcy funds and submit a claim online. Invalid address listings and events such as death are common reasons creditors fail to cash distribution checks from bankruptcy payments. The court will typically reach out to the creditor and known relatives to process these payments. Eligible claimants may also use the information below to contact the bankruptcy court where the bankruptcy case was adjudicated directly.
US Bankruptcy Courts
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
One Columbus Circle, NE
Washington, DC 20544
Unclaimed Mortgage Refunds
Homeowners with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgage could have leftover money that has not been claimed from refunds or canceled payments. Interested parties can use the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to search for unclaimed premium refunds and share payments or contact the government agency at:
451 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20410
Phone: (800) 697-6967
How To Claim Unclaimed Money in New Jersey
There are two ways to claim unclaimed money in New Jersey. After performing a name-based search on the unclaimed property website, an individual may submit a claim. This method is arguably the easiest and fastest way to claim unclaimed money in New Jersey.
An individual searching for claims online should perform a name-based search. Next, the individual must select the search results that apply. Selecting these search results adds items to a claims cart at the bottom of the screen. Clicking the claim cart will take the searcher to a page where they will be required to select their relationship to the unclaimed money or property. Then, the system prompts the searcher to provide personal information including social security number, contact details, and current physical address.
Besides the information provided, a claimant must also upload supporting documentation before the Unclaimed Property Administration will consider the claim and process it. If the administration approves a claim, the State Department of Treasury will issue a check for the equivalent amount of unclaimed money as well as the interest accrued over time. On the other hand, if a claim is rejected, the claimant can upload specific documents supporting their application. Required documentation typically includes a driver's license, vital records, and court orders, depending on the claimant's status.
Alternatively, the individual may file a paper claim for unclaimed money, also known as a mail-order claim. Individuals must write an unclaimed money application containing their full name and describing the unclaimed money - the last date of financial activity, the financial institution, and the approximate amount left unclaimed if known. Then, the claimant must attach a valid government-issued ID and other necessary documentation showing their relationship to the original owner or unclaimed funds (see the list of necessary documentation). Finally, the claimant must enclose the application packet in a self-addressed envelope and send it by mail with the following address:
ATTN: Claim Section
State of New Jersey
Unclaimed Property Administration
P.O. Box 214
Trenton, NJ 08625-0214
How Long Does It Take To Get Unclaimed Money in New Jersey?
It depends. The Unclaimed Property Administration typically processes online claims for unclaimed money within two weeks. Online claims take longer for third-party claimants who have to provide supporting documentation. Mail applications for unclaimed money in New Jersey may take as long as three months to process.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives In New Jersey?
Legal claimants for deceased persons with unclaimed money in New Jersey include surviving spouses and immediate blood relatives such as children, parents, and siblings. Extended blood relatives, such as grandchildren, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, and cousins, may also claim unclaimed money from relatives if the deceased does not have immediate family members. Similarly, persons with power of attorney, executors of the deceased's will, and court-appointed probate administrators can claim unclaimed money on a deceased's behalf. These claimants must provide supporting documentation before the Unclaimed Property Administrative processes the claim.
What Happens to Unclaimed Money in New Jersey if No One Claims It?
Unclaimed money remains in the state's custody in perpetuity until a valid claim arises. In the meantime, the money shall remain in the New Jersey Unclaimed Property Trust Fund until a person makes a lawful claim. Thus, there is no time limitation for claiming unclaimed money in New Jersey.
Can Someone in New Jersey Claim Unclaimed Money From Another State?
Yes. New Jersey residents with unclaimed money in other states may claim those funds following the procedures outlined by the state agency in charge of unclaimed funds. Most states maintain online government lists of unclaimed money, and the required documents and procedures to claim unclaimed money are often similar, with a few differences.