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New Pa. legislature could return millions of dollars of unclaimed property to Pennsylvanians

The Pennsylvania Money Match program would automatically return unclaimed property valued under $5,000 to its rightful owners automatically.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — New proposed legislation could return millions of dollars of unclaimed property to its rightful owners.

The legislation dubbed Pennsylvania Money Match, introduced by State Senator John DiSanto of Dauphin County, passed the Senate finance committee unanimously in early May and would allow the Pennsylvania Treasury to automatically return up to $5,000 to people who have unclaimed property held by the state. 

The treasury estimates the new system would return roughly $20 million worth of unclaimed property to Pennsylvanians each year. 

“It’s going to help get money back to Pennsylvanians faster than ever before," said Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity. "The way we are going to do it is by automating the process of returning the unclaimed property to thousands of people who are owed the money.”

The new legislation would allow the state treasury to verify the identity and address of the owner, send a letter notifying them the state possesses their money and several weeks later send a check with those funds.

State officials say it’s a new process that they believe will make an instant impact.

“If we’re able to return just 10 million dollars in year one, and if you assume the average claim is $1,600, which is the average overall, we would be able to proactively get money back to 6,250 Pennsylvanians without them needing to do anything at all," said Garrity.

The current system requires people to actively search for their names in a public database and file a claim.

However, while the treasury says one in 10 Pennsylvanians have unclaimed property, many do not even know they have a claim in the first place. This has led to 4 billion dollars worth of unclaimed items collected in the treasury vaults.

In a statement from Senator DiSanto’s office, he writes:

I am pleased to partner with Treasury Garrity on this commonsense initiative, aimed at returning more money to hardworking Pennsylvanians who may be unaware of their unclaimed property. Pennsylvania Money Match exemplifies how government should work to better serve its citizens. It really is a no-brainer, and I am hopeful my legislation receives quick consideration and passage by the legislature.

The bill now sits with the Senate Appropriation Committee, and the treasury is optimistic the bill would be up for a Senate vote in June.

For more information on how to find unclaimed property, click here.

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