Government may not be popular in some quarters but there’s one Ohio agency we suspect has widespread support – it’s the one that for 30 years now has been delivering windfalls of unexpected cash. Ideastream’s Brian Bull reports.
Rocky Black is the Deputy Superintendent of -- seriously -- the Division of Unclaimed Funds at the Ohio Department of Commerce.
So what's their mission?
"Basically we try to reunite folks with money they have rightfully coming to them by virtue of dormant funds such as an old bank account, an old utility deposit, some uncashed insurance policies, stock certificates, things of that nature."
Black says there are currently four and a half million unclaimed fund accounts in Ohio, equaling more than $1.6 billion. For those who discover that they're entitled to a piece of this money pile, it's a pretty nice feeling.
"Recently we had a Lake County man who's been unemployed for four years," recalls Black. "He received $250 in unclaimed funds. He told us there were smiles and tears when the check arrived.
"There was a police officer in Whitehall that had been paid for some special duty work over the years by Kroger in stock. His wife didn't know that. When he passed away, it took a while for her to realize what had happened. And then she reclaimed the money which was almost $2000."
Black says the biggest payout was in 2003, when a former Ohio resident who moved to Quebec was paid $1.7 million. Hard to believe anyone could forget about or not know they had that much behind, but it happens (rarely that much, though).
Black says most people who get reunited with their money do something practical with it.
"We find a lot of people though will buy a tank of gas, pay some bills, make some needed repairs around the house, that kind of thing, depending on the size of the claim."
There are many ways to search. You can either contact the Ohio Division of Unclaimed Funds directly...or check online at: http://unclaimedfundstreasurehunt.ohio.gov
Several national databases exist, including: http://missingmoney.com
Be aware though, that among those looking are state lawmakers and governors. Over the years, they sometimes make up for government shortfalls by tapping unclaimed funds.