This post is sponsored by the Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash Program. Messaging and images were provided but anecdotes and opinions are mine, as usual.
When I was a kid, two of my very favorite board games were Payday and Monopoly. Both games were based on the ability to get ahead financially, and I suppose it might be a little weird for a kid to be so attracted to such a grown-up thing (I loved the game of “Life”, too!), it is what it is. I liked money. Don’t judge: I bet you do too. Payday was similar to Monopoly in that it had its own version of “Free Parking”, the Lottery.
Winning the Lottery or landing on Free Parking was always very thrilling, and the notion that money could just show up without warning in real life was pretty romantic.
It feels weird to type the word “romantic” and then start talking about the state of Illinois, but bear with me on that awkward segue.
I recently learned about the Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash Program, and I was transported back to my childhood and those board game as, suddenly, a real life windfall seemed possible. Did you know that the Illinois Treasurer is safeguarding $2.5 billion in recovered cash belonging to millions of Illinois residents and wants to return it? The Illinois Treasurer’s I-Cash Program helps tens of thousands of people each year discover and claim old bank accounts, uncashed paychecks, unpaid insurance benefits and other unclaimed property.
All you have to do to find out if the state is holding your windfall is visit IllinoisTreasurer.gov/ICASH. One out of every four Illinois adults discovers property to claim, and the average paid claim is $2900 (!!!!). It takes about four weeks to receive a check after submitting a signed claim forma and authentication of ownership.
The Illinois Treasurer’s Office secures unclaimed property from banks, insurance companies, utilities, and other institutions across the country that have been unable to be returned to their rightful owners. The Illinois Treasurer’s Office is legally required to hold property until it is claimed by the owner or heir, no matter how long that takes. Fun fact: The largest claim in recent history was $2.2 million, in 2015!
Now, I know that you’re chomping at the bit wondering if you’re going to become an instant millionaire. Let’s face it, the odds of that are pretty slim. That said, isn’t any amount of money that you weren’t expecting a great amount of money? When I went to search for myself (and Jim and both boys), I was absolutely certain that I would find nothing. And then, hello cashola! I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had an old Home Depot refund waiting for me (just over fifty dollars) and Jim had money from an old UPromise account (over fifty dollars) waiting for him! I mean, who wouldn’t love to accidentally find a hundred bucks? We filled out the claim forms immediately and with any luck that money will arrive in time to take with us on our trip to Key West next month. A hundred dollars is equivalent to multiples of our favorite Key West things: twenty slices of Kermit’s Key Lime Pie or eleven Goombay Smashes at the Hog’s Breath Saloon or two breakfasts at Blue Heaven.
Here are the specifics on discovering what might be waiting for you at the Illinois Treasurer’s Office:
1. Visit IllinoisTreasurer.gov/ICASH and click on the I-Cash link. Enter your name and city in the search fields. You may have to search a couple of different ways (full name, last name only, etc.).
2. Identify your properties and provide your contact information online.
3. Within minutes, I-Cash will email you the claim form to sign and mail along with proof of ownership to claim your property.
4. Mail the signed claim form and ownership proof; your check will arrive within weeks.
5. You can check back every six months in case new money shows up!
Pass this on to anyone you know in Illinois: you might be helping them end 2016 on a high note, and who doesn’t want to be the bearer of awesome news? If you find money under your name, let me know! I’d love to know about your personal windfall!