Pilot program aims to return millions in unclaimed property to North Carolinians

New program helps connect people with unclaimed cash

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -A new program through the North Carolina Treasurer’s Office is gathering steam, connecting people with their unclaimed cash.

Unclaimed property includes funds like security deposits, final paychecks and bank accounts that got lost in the mix, or couldn’t be returned to someone because of an incorrect address.

The program has been around for decades, allowing people to search their name in an online directory to see if they have an entry in the NC Cash Database. More recently, the state has begun sending letters in the mail to notify people if they have unclaimed property up for grabs.

They’re currently ten weeks into paying out checks for the new effort approved by the legislature in 2019 called NC Cash Match.

Letters are being sent out randomly each week to people who have less than $250 in NC cash. There’s more than 1.5 million people in this state alone who fall into that category.

“It says ‘this is who you are, this is your address, this is what you have on NC cash. If this letter is not returned to us, then we’re going to automatically send the check to you in eight weeks...cuts out all the bureaucracy,” said Treasurer Dale Folwell.

The pilot program started slow, sending out 500 letters a week, but they’re ramping up the operation.

“We started this at 500 letters the first week, 500 the second week, 750, then 1,000, 1,500 and now its 2,000 letters were sending out and there’s no rhyme or reason other than these are claims for under $250,” said the treasurer.

Some letters are returned for bad addresses, but 95 percent of the letters that go out are hitting their mark. According to the treasurer, $500,000 has already been paid out through the letters.

The checks will be issued six to eight weeks after notification letters are mailed. The special program uses public information resources to verify identity and ownership. For claims outside of the NC Cash Match program, claimants must still provide evidence to prove their identity and ownership to the property.

Normal processing time for people who put in claims on the website is about 90 days on average, but due to unusually high volume, current processing time might take longer.

Treasurer Folwell says they’ve seen a surge lately in people using the website and they’re seeing an 81 percent explosion in their volume. They say the pandemic means people have had more downtime at home on the computer and now the volume of claims has just exploded. The boom is also happening in a time a lot of people in state government aren’t working in their office full time.

“People should be patient but the fact is that we figured out what’s right, and we’re getting it right, and we’re keeping it right. We have an explosion of volume and with the pandemic and the impact it had on people physically working in state government, they’ve done a great job, given those two circumstances,” said Folwell.

If you’d like to see if you have an entry in NC Cash, follow this link to search your name or business.

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