Sponsored: Louisiana leaders use in-person events and online tools to reunite citizens with missing money

By Amanda McElfresh

This article is brought to you by the Louisiana Department of the Treasury.

Now in its 50th year, Louisiana’s Unclaimed Property program continues to help thousands of residents reclaim funds that have been lost, forgotten or left dormant over time.

Also known as Louisiana Cash Claim, the program is administered by the Louisiana Department of the Treasury. To get started, individuals can visit www.lacashclaim.org and search by name to see if anything is owed to them or their business.

The unclaimed funds in the program come from a wide range of sources, including dormant bank accounts, utility deposits, insurance claim payments, wages, oil royalties, stock accounts, dividends, credit balances, accounts payable and more. These are funneled to the State Treasurer’s Office when the recipient’s current address can’t be found or if an organization is unsuccessful in efforts to reach individuals. That’s when the Department of the Treasury steps in to safeguard and manage the funds until they can be returned to their rightful owners.

Although people can check for unclaimed property online at any time, the Louisiana Department of the Treasury has been expanding its outreach efforts to ensure all citizens have the opportunity to see if they have funds in their name. Recently, Louisiana officials worked together with leaders in Texas to host an in-person event for residents from both states to see if they have unclaimed property available. Thanks to a collaboration with the State Treasury of Mississippi, similar events are scheduled for Oct. 19 in Slidell and Oct. 20 in Bay St. Louis, Miss. where individuals can meet with staff from Louisiana and Mississippi to review possible unclaimed funds in either state.

In addition, through the Great Employee Give Back of 2023, Louisiana businesses, nonprofits, school systems and other employers can provide employee information that Unclaimed Property staff cross-references with records to find any matches. Also, with the Veterans Cash Claim initiative, program staff visit veterans events and provide direct assistance to Louisiana’s retired military service members.

“We know that not everybody is comfortable using technology or they’re fearful of doing anything financial online because of the potential for data breaches,” Treasurer Schroder said. “They want to talk to somebody face-to-face. Our goal is to give back as much money as we can. If people feel more comfortable doing that in person, we’re willing and able to help make that happen.”

Kathleen Lobell, director of unclaimed property for the Louisiana Department of the Treasury, said the events are also a way to raise awareness about the program. More than $1 billion remains to be claimed in Louisiana. The average claim is approximately $900, although checks can sometimes reach into the six figures.

“It’s still surprising to me to meet people who have no idea what unclaimed property is or who have never heard of the program,” Lobell said. “We embrace any opportunity to promote the program, educate the public about it and help them discover if they have any funds that are owed to them. Our ultimate goal is to see this money back in the hands of its rightful owner.”

Treasurer Schroder added that the new partnerships between Louisiana and neighboring states are a way to help even more citizens. He noted that it’s not uncommon for residents to live in one state and work in another, own property or business interests in multiple states, or move back and forth across state borders over time.

“Business doesn’t stop just because of a state line,” he said. “It’s natural that we work together to make it easier for people to claim this money. We just keep trying to be creative and find ways to reach as many people as possible.”

Visit www.lacashclaim.org to see if you have any unclaimed property or to reach staff members to schedule an in-person event with a business or organization.

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