I-Cash program connects residents with unclaimed property

By Beau Ebenezer

May 13, 2013 Updated May 14, 2013 at 2:48 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- A program being pushed by the Illinois State Treasurer is aiming to put money in your pocket.

The state is holding millions of dollars in unclaimed cash and some of it could have your name on it.

It could be your mother's secret coin collection, a forgotten life insurance policy or even your grandfather's lost war medal.

It's all sitting right in the basement of the Illinois State Capitol.

"You can go online and check most of your close family names. If you get a hit, it's like winning the lotto. I love it," said Princeville resident Bob Daniels.

Daniels is not talking about the lotto, however. He is talking about I-Cash, a program established by the Illinois State Treasurer's office to return unclaimed property to Illinois residents.

The I-Cash vault currently holds $1.7 billion in unclaimed property. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says 1 out of 8 people in Illinois qualifies for some of that amount.

Unclaimed property typically includes safety deposit box contents, paid-up life insurance policies, bill over-payments or inactive savings and checking accounts.

State officials say this usually happens because people lose track of their assets when they move or a loved one dies.

Tangible property, like collectors items, will sit with their institution for five years before being handed over to the Illinois State Treasurer.

"We will hold it a minimum of five years before we then look to certain inventory to put on an online auction. Again, the gold coin will be gone, but if we find the recipient, they will get the cash for that," said Rutherford.

To find out if you have unclaimed property all you have to do is head to I-Cash.Illinois.gov and type in the name of yourself and close relatives. Don't forget to try maiden names as well.

"Apparently there was an outstanding bill at my office and the lawyers had apparently mailed a check. I did not realize, and for whatever reason, it did not get to me," said Bartonville resident Dean Trotter. "It ended up at the Treasurer's office and apparently it sat there for quite some time before this friend of mine had said something."

$144 was put back into Dr. Trotter's chiropractic business, and hundreds more into other pockets everyday.

"$129 million last year that went back into the economy of this state," said Rutherford. "That's a heck of a lot better than a federal stimulus program out of Washington D.C. It's not government money. It's the public's money, it's your money, and we are helping you get it back."

Some residents received as much as $3,000 from the program.

All it takes is a couple strokes of the keyboard, and a few clicks of the mouse to get your hands on the money or mementos that are rightfully yours.

Remember to join us tomorrow during News 25 at 5 and 6.
The Illinois Treasurer's department will be in studio, taking your calls, helping you claim your forgotten or lost property.