What Is Texas Unclaimed Money?
Texas unclaimed money refers to funds that an owner has not claimed or exercised their power of ownership over after a statutory amount of time elapses. When assets remain untouched for more than one year, Texas' Uniform Unclaimed Property Act directs the financial institution to cede custody of the money to the state government or agency designated as a holder. The agency responsible for holding Texas unclaimed money is the Unclaimed Property Division of the Texas Comptroller's Office. Ceding money to the state government is also known as escheatment.
The Texas Unclaimed Property Division acts as temporary custodian of unclaimed property in Texas, including tangible and intangible assets such as cash and cash equivalents. The division maintains the assets until a legal claimant submits a claim. When this happens, the agency shall turn over the unclaimed funds to its rightful owner, along with interest accrued during the escheatment period.
How To Find Unclaimed Money in Texas
The Division of Unclaimed Property maintains a publicly searchable database that persons searching for Texas unclaimed money can use. Interested persons need only enter their names in the search field provided and see results on the government list of unclaimed money. A name-based search will return a table containing a property or claim ID, as well as the rightful owner's name, address, and the holder's information. Persons who search this database can also expect to see the claimable amount and the year since the money has been reported as unclaimed.
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 Texas?
Besides the Division of Unclaimed Property, other federal agencies maintain various databases that Texas residents can use to find unclaimed money for free, from owed back wages to federal tax refunds.
Unclaimed Texas Tax Refunds
Individuals and businesses who earn their income in Texas must pay state tax. Certain purchases and expenses are also taxable. Paying all these taxes involves a careful review of personal income and expenses, and it is common for taxpayers to overpay. In such cases, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts reimburses the difference. However, it is common for these tax refunds to go unclaimed for several reasons. Taxpayers and relatives of taxpayers in Texas may check and file unclaimed state tax refunds by following instructions and providing the necessary supporting documents.
Lyndon B. Johnson State Office Building
111 East 17th Street
P.O. Box 13528, Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711-3528
Unpaid Back Wages and Salaries
The US Department of Labor's Wages and Hours Division investigates wage exploitation and nonpayment cases. The division then uses civil and administrative actions to compel the erring employers to pay the due amount. In turn, the federal agency notifies the affected employee and pays those who submit a claim. However, this money often goes unclaimed. Interested employees may find unclaimed back wages and salaries on the unclaimed money database. Alternatively, they can call the division at (866) 487-9243 or visit the local office in Texas.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has a self-help guide for retirees who worked in the private sector. Users can find their unclaimed pensions in 401k accounts and other private pension plans. The corporation's database for unclaimed pensions is also a valuable resource for finding and claiming unpaid pensions.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
1200 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-4026
Phone: (800) 326-5678
Unclaimed Veterans' Life Insurance Funds
The Veterans' Life Insurance Fund is a plan that functions as financial security for service members and dependents if an incident renders a service member unable to work during or after active duty. In many cases, these funds go unclaimed. It is possible to find these unclaimed funds on the Department of Veteran Affairs database.
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Local office directory
Phone: (800) 827-1000
Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds
Texas residents who overpay their federal taxes get refunded with personal checks, savings bonds, or direct deposit to bank accounts. These reimbursements can often remain unclaimed for years - some taxpayers are unaware, and others prefer to postpone the refund and claim a lump sum later. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) maintains a database for finding and claiming these unclaimed federal tax refunds. Alternatively, the taxpayer may visit the nearest IRS office in Texas. or call the IRS helpline at (800) 829-1040.
Unclaimed Credit Union Deposits
Credit unions are financial institutions that offer traditional banking services to members but with additional benefits and services that traditional banks do not extend to their customers. Members typically operate an account for receiving loans and making deposits for loan repayments. Like money in traditional bank accounts, money in credit union accounts also goes untouched for an extended period. When this happens, the credit union reports the money as unclaimed. Interested persons may search the National Credit Union Administration database for unclaimed credit union deposits.
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
The Securities and Exchange Commission exists to protect persons who invest in US securities - such as stocks, commodities, derivatives, and other financial instruments. This agency also investigates fraudulent activities by corporations, brokers, and bookrunners. It seizes the financial and non-financial assets of complicit entities for repayment to harmed investors through a third-party funds administrator. Investors who have been victims of securities fraud may search the US Securities and Exchange Commission database for unclaimed funds. Alternatively, visit the regional office or call the SEC helpline.
US Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549
Regional offices directory
Phone: (202) 551-6551
Unclaimed Matured Savings Bonds
Savings bonds are investments that offer guaranteed, albeit modest, consistent interest payments. Many investors prefer to sell bonds upon maturation, which can range from 10 to 30 years. It is common for the original investors to forget about these bonds, especially individual investors. The investment firm or the US Treasury Department will report unclaimed funds and attempt to contact the investors and named kin. It is also possible to find money from unclaimed bonds by searching the US Treasury Department database. Alternatively, parties can contact the government agency at (844) 284-2676 and (202) 622-2000. Claimants may also send an email to email@example.com.
Unclaimed Bankruptcy Funds
Money recovered during a bankruptcy action goes from debtor to court-assigned trustee and then creditors with proof of claim. Unclaimed funds from bankruptcy proceedings
When these funds remain unclaimed by creditors for because of death, uncashed distribution checks, or listing an invalid address, the court will report the funds as unclaimed money. Creditors and relatives may check for unclaimed funds using the US Courts Unclaimed Funds Locator.
Unclaimed Mortgage Refunds
Texas homeowners with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgage are eligible to receive refunds for canceled premiums and distributive share payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). When these refunds and payments go uncollected for several years, the agency shall report it as unclaimed money. Information on finding and claiming these funds is available on the US Department of Housing and Urban Development database. Otherwise, contact the HUD directly.
451 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20410
Phone: (800) 697-6967
Unclaimed Funds in a Foreign Country
There are cases where US nationals whose property was taken over by a foreign government can receive money to cover the losses. The same applies to persons and relatives of persons who suffered damage due to US military operations in a foreign country. The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission database lets concerned persons find these monies and file a claim.
How To Claim Texas Unclaimed Money
The Texas Comptroller's Office provides specific instructions for claiming unclaimed property in the state, including unclaimed funds. Generally, this involves identifying the unclaimed money on the online database and filing a claim along with it. Filing a claim begins online and involves the following four steps:
- The claimant selects as many outstanding unclaimed funds as shown in the search results;
- Then, they select the "view claimed property" at the top right corner of the screen in bright red;
- Next, the claimant selects their relationship to the unclaimed property (owner, heir, trustee, court-appointed probate administrator, or executor of will);
- After confirming the claimant's relationship to unclaimed property, the system will prompt the claimant to provide personal information, name and social security number, and their contact details, including a mailing address and daytime phone number.
The next phase of claiming unclaimed funds is offline. Generally, the State Comptroller's Office will respond to the claim by mailing a letter to the claimant. This letter is routine and requests that the individual provide additional information establishing a legal relationship to the unclaimed funds. For the owner of the claimed money, a driver's license and a copy of a utility bill will suffice. For other types of claimants, additional documentation is necessary.
For instance, the claimant's heir, an immediate family member, must provide a birth certificate or marriage record to establish their relationship with the original owner. A court-appointed probate administrator must provide supporting court documents, while an executor must provide the deceased owner's will and death certificate.
After this phase, the Division of Unclaimed Property will review the claim and supporting documentation and approve or deny the claim. If approved, the claimant will receive a check for the equivalent amount. Conversely, if the state agency denies the claim for unclaimed funds, the claimant must provide additional supporting documentation.
How Long Does It Take To Get Unclaimed Money in Texas
On average, it takes 37 business days to get unclaimed money in Texas as long as the claim is valid and the claimant submits the necessary documentation. However, this timeline may be longer in cases where the claimant is not the original owner of the money. Claimants who submit all the required documentation can expect to get their unclaimed funds faster than claimants who do not have all the necessary documentation.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives in Texas?
In Texas, the following can claim unclaimed money from deceased relatives:
- Immediate family members
- Named executors
- Court-appointed administrators of probate
- Direct heirs of the deceased original owner of unclaimed funds
Besides providing a certified death certificate, state regulations require these individuals to submit proof of relationship to the deceased relative, including marriage records, birth certificates, or adoption records.
What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Texas If No One Claims It?
Texas unclaimed money typically remains claimable for several generations. There is no deadline on when the owner or legal representatives may claim unclaimed funds. Thus, the state agency or business acting as the holder will transfer the funds and accrued interest when a claimant submits a claim. Texas has returned more than $1 billion in unclaimed property since 2015. Every year, the Division of Unclaimed Property pays an average of $280 million to about 270,000 claimants.
Can Someone in Texas Claim Unclaimed Money From Another State?
Yes. Texas residents who have lived in other states may file a claim for unclaimed funds in that state. Note that the claim procedure in other states depends on the state agency acting as the holder and is independent of money claimed in Texas. While some states make provisions for claiming unclaimed funds online, others require claimants to submit claims in person or via mail.