IMPORTANT: There is no government-wide, centralized information service or database on how unclaimed government assets may be obtained. Each individual federal agency maintains its own records.
To find out whether any unclaimed funds are being held by the federal government, you need to determine the type of benefit or payment that could be involved, the date on which the payment was expected, and how the payment should have been made.
Given this information, the agency responsible for certifying any payment due should be able to assist you in getting the current status of the payment involved. The titles and addresses for all federal agencies can be found in the United States Government Manual which is available in most public libraries.
Below are government agencies that have databases you can search for unclaimed money.
- Treasury Hunt: Unclaimed U.S. Securities and Payments
- HUD/FHA Mortgage Insurance Refunds
- Credit Union Unclaimed Shares
- National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators
(Individual State Unclaimed Asset Web Sites)
- U.S. Courts: Unclaimed Funds in Bankruptcy
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators' website www.unclaimed.org is an excellent resource. This association consists of state officials charged with the responsibility of reuniting lost owners with their unclaimed property.
Their website was developed by state unclaimed property experts to assist the public, free of charge, in efforts to search for funds that may belong to you or your relatives.
Several companies, or locator services, engaged in the business of identifying and recovering unclaimed assets for profit, acquire federal check issuance data from Fiscal Service and various federal government agencies under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
The information requested by these companies pertains to specific check symbols, numbers and dollar amounts identified on Treasury check cancellation listings compiled by Fiscal Service. These listings are not searchable by personal identifiers, such as a person's name or social security number.
Personal identifiers may, however, exist in federal agencies' check issuance or cancellation records. Using such personal identifiers, these locator services try to find the prospective beneficiaries, or "payees," for canceled/unpaid government checks and, on their behalf, attempt to collect the payment amounts from the federal agencies that originally certified the payments.
It is important to note that these firms are also involved in recovering unclaimed property in the possession of state and local government entities.
Fiscal Service cannot issue payments on behalf of federal program agencies until official certification of those payments is received from the agencies.
In those cases when undeliverable, unnegotiable and/or otherwise unpaid checks are returned to the Treasury disbursing centers, Fiscal Service merely cancels the checks and returns the funds to the agencies that originally certified the payments.