The New Jersey Unclaimed Property Administration (UPA) returned a record $202.95 million in assets to rightful owners in Fiscal Year 2023, the result of 73,686 claims filed with the agency.
Unclaimed property is a mechanism for the State of New Jersey to safeguard property that has been abandoned or lost for three years. It can include bank accounts, utility deposits, insurance payouts, and even real physical property. Individual residents, businesses, nonprofits and local governments could potentially have unclaimed assets with the UPA.
The effort for the Fiscal Year 2023 that ended June 30 far surpassed UPA’s previous record set in Fiscal Year 2022, when $164.13 million in assets were returned via 50,867 claims filed. More than $2.4 billion has been returned since the inception of the program.
“Every year we try to improve upon the previous year’s total returned, and our team worked very hard to reach people and organizations we may not have reached in the past,” said Unclaimed Property Administrator Steve Harris. “I’m thrilled with how many people have searched for free on our website, unclaimedproperty.nj.gov, or met with a member of our outreach team and found money that we’ve been holding for them.”
UPA’s Outreach Team focuses on reuniting abandoned property with its owners through various outreach initiatives, including mass mailings, media campaigns, and attendance at state fairs, community centers and other public locations and events throughout the year. The UPA works with legislative district offices to communicate with constituents, and last year over 24,000 people were reached through this collaboration.
UPA also publishes a list each summer in newspapers across New Jersey of all of the names of people who had property turned over to the State within the past year. Last year’s ad included nearly 225,000 names.
Additionally, the UPA expanded its campaign earlier this year by proactively contacting the 350 municipal and county governments which currently have unclaimed property being safeguarded by the State. In the three weeks since the letters were sent, more than $1 million has been claimed by 135 different local government organizations.
This includes more than $80,000 returned to Atlantic City, which was captured in a segment that aired on Good Morning America last month. Following the airing of the segment, the number of searches on unclaimedproperty.nj.gov skyrocketed – over 85,000 visitors searched for unclaimed assets on the site in the week following the television appearance, and over 14,000 claims were created.
New Jersey’s Unclaimed Property Administration’s efforts to reunite residents and businesses with their property has gotten a boost from the national publicity and Fiscal Year 2024, which began July 1, is off to a strong start, administration officials said.
Anyone can search for their name on the State Department of Treasury’s website for free to determine if New Jersey or any other state is holding their property. Individuals are encouraged to search their name, a maiden name, or the name of a business or nonprofit.