"The Delaware Office of Unclaimed Property last week mailed over 19,000 checks to Delaware taxpayers, And these checks are for unclaimed property that had already been reported to the state," said Delaware State Escheator Brenda Mayrack. "We were able to match the data from last year's tax filings against our unclaimed property database, and just cut a check, without having that person have to file a claim or other paperwork "
Mayrack said their proactive Money Match program allowed the Office of Unclaimed Property to initiate tracking down those with unclaimed funds, so money could end up in the hands of its rightful owners, even if they had no idea they were owed money.
"In total, it was just over $3 million, which works out to about $150 on average, per person," she said. "But some checks were actually quite large."
And there's never been a better time for this program, Mayrack said.
"We're very happy to provide this service, particularly during difficult economic times when people are in need of extra money, to get this unclaimed property back into the hands of Delaware taxpayers."
She said the idea behind unclaimed property is not new, but the government searching out its owners is, as Delaware becomes one of only seven states currently operating some kind of Money Match program.
"It has nothing to do with tax returns or tax filing. This is unclaimed property, and every company has a legal obligation--in all 50 states--to report unclaimed property," Mayrack said. "These are uncashed paychecks, abandoned bank accounts, unused gift cards, abandoned retirement accounts. When that property goes abandoned for five years, the companies are to report it to the state, and then the states hold it in perpetuity until the person comes forward to claim it. Delaware is getting this property reported to us all the time, and we are holding it, but in this case we're sending it back automatically because we have the reliability of matching the tax data."
Mayrack assures all Delawareans who receive a check from them, it's the real deal, and theirs to cash. Those who are unsure can still email a dedicated email address MoneyMatch@Delaware.gov if they have any questions.
"Nothing is required. If you are one of the 19,000 people who received a check, all you really have to do at this point is cash the check," she said. "I think, immediately people say, 'Is this a scam? Is this for real?' It is. It's a State of Delaware check that's signed by Treasurer Colleen Davis, that has a letter with my name on it."
To check if you have any unclaimed property out there or learn more about the Money Match program, visit UnclaimedProperty.Delaware.gov.