Missing a Bronze Star or a Purple Heart? The State Controller's Office might have it. Controller John Chiang's office says it has 95,000 pieces of unclaimed property from people who served this country going back as far as World War One. Many of these pieces of military history come from unclaimed safety deposit boxes.
In addition to such things as medals and memorabilia California veterans have $36.3 million worth of assets and property being held by the state, including money left in long-forgotten bank accounts, old insurance checks and forgotten utility deposits.
Chiang said during a Friday news conference that the effort to reunited property with their owners "... is about upholding our commitment to our veterans and their families and, working together, returning what rightfully belongs to them,"
The controller is charged with storing all unclaimed property in the state, a bounty of money and personal belongings worth a total of $7.1 billion according to Chiang's office. California's unclaimed property law, adopted in 1959, requires banks and other businesses to send unclaimed or abandoned property to the state for safekeeping after losing contact with the owner for at least three years.
The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has identified more than 95,000 California veterans, or their heirs, that have more than $36 million in unclaimed property and cash being held by the state of California. On Friday, CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett joined with State Controller John Chiang to announce they found 95,305 veterans that may have unclaimed property.
According to the data run CalVet completed, the veterans have more than $36.3 million available to claim with an average value of approximately $300.
In order to preserve the confidentiality of the veterans' records, CalVet will be sending letters over the next several months directly to the veterans notifying them of the unclaimed property program.
LINK: Here's how to claim the property if you believe it is yours California's Unclaimed Property Law was passed in 1959 to protect consumers by preventing businesses from keeping unclaimed property, using it as business income, losing it through mergers or bankruptcies, or drawing it down by fees. After losing contact with an owner for at least three years, businesses are required to send unclaimed or abandoned property to the State for safekeeping until the owner or heirs can be found and the property claimed.
The most common types of unclaimed property include cash or assets abandoned in bank accounts, terminated insurance policies, forgotten utility deposits, and stocks and bonds. Other types of unclaimed property include precious valuables or collector's items found abandoned in safe deposit boxes. See photos of some of the military-related items waiting to be claimed.
As Controller, Chiang has returned nearly $3 billion in unclaimed cash and 235 million stock shares to its rightful owners, and wants to make sure that our veterans are claiming every dollar owed to them of the $7.1 billion available.
The new eClaim feature in the Unclaimed Property program allows unclaimed property owners to claim single-owner accounts worth up to $500 without the "paper and snail-mail" process. More than 18 million accounts are eligible to be claimed through eClaim, and property owners can expect to receive payments within 14 days. Since launching eClaim in late January, the Controller has returned more than $5 million with an average wait time of approximately 10 days.