State Treasurer John Perdue’s Unclaimed Property Division has returned $15.9 million to current and former state residents as of April 30, smashing the previous fiscal year claim record by more than $600,000. The fiscal year ends June 30.
Unclaimed property is any financial asset from which an individual has become separated, such as a forgotten utility deposit or final paycheck. The Treasurer’s Office works to reunite those persons with their money through its Unclaimed Property Division.
The record-setting year eclipses – with 60 days remaining in the fiscal year – 2009’s $15.3 million total and 2011’s $14.8 million. To search the Treasurer’s Office unclaimed property database go to www.wvtreasury.com.
“We keep raising the bar of unclaimed property return,” Treasurer Perdue said. “It’s a testament to the hard work of this office and our proactive approach to returning the people’s money. We’ll keep doing whatever we can to reunite people with what they have lost.”
To date this fisal year, West Virginia residents in all 55 counties have been reunited with a cumulative $9.1 million, leaving $6.8 million disbursed to other states in which the rightful owner was last known to be living. Those payments may be to former residents who have moved to other states, or due to reciprocal exchange of property with the state of the reported residence of the owner
“We hate whenever someone leaves our great state but are determined to reunite not only current but former residents with any of their assets that we are holding,” Treasurer Perdue said. “Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.”
Leading all counties in successful claims filed are Doddridge County residents, in which 18 claimants have been returned a cumulative $1.8 million in the small, rural county. Contrast that with Webster County, four from the bottom, where 18 claims netted only $5,343. Privacy laws prevent the release of specific claim information but experience indicates a spate of large estates to be settled accounts for large claims in a small county.
After Doddridge, the most populous county, Kanawha County, checks in at No. 2 so far with $1.5 million in processed claims.
More urban counties such as Monongalia, Cabell, Berkeley and Wood are also listed in the top 10, while Taylor, Fayette and Clay also managed to be included. Again, these numbers were compiled with two months to go in the fiscal year.
In April, the Division reported 1,183 claims consisting of 2,907 properties, or separate assets, for a total of $1,537,140 paid out. This is well above the Division’s annual goal of $1 million a month.
Field representatives turned in exceptionally good months to constitute nearly 53 percent of dollar amount assets returned, generating $813,598. Field representatives often notify people of assets due them, then personally shepherd them through the claim process.
E-Claims are electronic claims filed after residents find out they have lost an asset. Simply log onto www.wvtreasury.com and follow the prompts. In April, E-Claims constituted $300,392 or 19.5% of the total returned.
Owner claims are paper claims filed by the rightful owner, after learning about the asset through the Treasury’s database, newspaper insert or word of mouth. In April they constituted $196,275 or 13 percent of the total. Reciprocal payments to other states, though a big chunk of the 10-month-old total, only checked in at 8.3 percent in April.
As far as sheer number of claims and their sources, E-Claims easily led the way with 847 claims and 72 percent of the total. Owner claims clocked in at 222 claims or 19 percent.