Written by Marilou Giammona Friday, 28 January 2011 00:00
Some local residents may be poised to cash in on some of New York State’s $10.5 billion in unclaimed funds. Michael Caplice, the Long Island Representative for New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, recently met with Stewart Manor Mayor James J. Kelly to announce that many Stewart Manor residents are owed money. Caplice will be on site at the Stewart Manor Village Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 26, from noon until 2 p.m. to help residents determine if they are owed money.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with the State Comptroller’s Office in this effort to help our village residents with the process of first determining if they are owed any of the state’s $10.5 billion in unclaimed funds, and then with claiming any funds that they are owed,” said Mayor Kelly.
While residents can ascertain whether they are owed funds on their own — online at www. osc.state.ny.us/ouf/index.htm — Caplice will facilitate the process, which “may be useful to those without computers or who are not comfortable doing such searches,” suggested Stewart Manor Administrator/Clerk Treasurer Rosemarie A. Biehayn.
Among the funds that residents may have unclaimed are savings accounts, checking accounts, uncashed checks, telephone/utility deposits, wages, insurance benefits/policies, safe-deposit box contents, mortgage insurance refunds, stocks and dividends, mutual funds, certificates of deposit, and trust funds. If there has been no activity in the account for a set period of time, usually between two and five years, the money is considered unclaimed or abandoned, according to the Office of Unclaimed Funds. Banks, insurance companies, utilities, investment companies and many other businesses are required by state law to surrender inactive accounts to the state. The Office of the State Comptroller serves as custodian of this money
Whether Stewart Manor residents opt to determine whether they are owed funds on their own, or if they visit Village Hall on Jan. 26 and consult with Caplice, there is no time limit and no fee for this service. Residents should be cautioned, however, if they are contacted by someone other than the State Comptroller’s Office, that third party can charge up to 15 percent of the recovered funds.
Residents who are owed funds will receive an acknowledgement letter within a month after the Office of Unclaimed Funds receives their claim. (For those who visit Village Hall on Jan. 26, Caplice will file all of the necessary claim paperwork at that time.) After acknowledgement of the claim, it takes an additional 90 days for the claim to be reviewed and verified. If additional documentation is required, residents will be notified in writing after the review is completed.
To be sure, it’s worth the wait. According to Comptroller DiNapoli’s office, the largest amount still unclaimed is more than $1.7 million for one individual, from one account. Could it be you?