The Government Urges Americans to Claim Their Money

Monica Jackson
Published Oct 26, 2023

A couple of weeks ago, news broke about the federal government releasing information about millions of Americans who have yet to claim their stimulus checks. Most people just believed that this was a sitting administration's attempt to score brownie points with voters heading into the midterm elections. However, the midterm elections are over (in theory), and yet the IRS just released another bulletin in which they're urging Americans to see if they're eligible for stimulus checks. As of Nov 10, 2022, the IRS has released a memo that states there are an estimated 9 million Americans who may be owed stimulus money. Usually when people deal with unclaimed funds, it's coming from an inheritance they didn't know about, or some insurance rebate. People are a bit more skeptical when it's the IRS telling them they may be owed money.

The IRS is one of the scariest federal government agencies in existence. Everyone knows that the IRS's main job is to collect money from people. They're more than willing to put you on trial and throw you in prison if you don't give them every penny they claim you owe. So, to have the IRS now urging Americans to claim "free" money from them is a little off-putting for a lot of people. Though, in reality, if you're one of the 9 million Americans whose check is waiting, this isn't actually some gimmick to get your tax information. You are actually entitled to this money. The federal government, starting with former President Donald Trump, signed trillions of dollars in stimulus spending, including checks for every American over 18. Joe Biden kept this trend alive soon after he took office.

The gist here is simple: The IRS mailed out checks to people whose tax information was recently on record (as of 2019), and they put money into accounts of people who have automated bank transfers for their tax rebates (again, as of 2019). Anyone who didn't file in 2019, and a lot of people who don't have a bank set up, did not receive a check from the government. So of those 9 million Americans who may have a single stimulus check with their name on it, many of those Americans are going to have three checks coming, for all three rounds of the stimulus: $1,200, $1,000, and $800. So, in total, you might have $3,000 worth of unclaimed funds just waiting for you.

There's no catch here. It's not like the IRS is going to get your name and then come arrest you for anything. Again, this is money to which you are entitled as an American. In these tough economic times, where everything from fuel to food is nearly double in price, you might want to go through your memory bank, and your physical bank, to see if you have an outstanding check. No one really knows what will happen if not all Americans claim these checks. The IRS might put an expiration date on them unless people start acting.

Be Sure to Check Beyond the Stimulus Money

You might not know it, but the United States is currently holding billions upon billions of dollars in unclaimed funds right now. A lot of this is in the form of property. You can actually check with your state's official treasury office and see if they have any sort of property or funds with your name on it. Many people are very suspicious about this. They believe that contacting the government will put their name on some list, and that they'll just end up receiving fines and having to pay money in. However, you shouldn't be that cynical about unclaimed funds. More often than not, your name isn't going to make it past the treasury office. It's not as if the treasury is going to send the IRS a memo, or slide your name across the president's desk. You either have unclaimed funds or you don't.

The thing about this though is that you never know unless you check. The government cannot get the DMV to operate correctly. They pour billions of dollars into the US Postal Service every single year, and still the mail barely runs on time. America's government isn't exactly the most competent bunch, and so they're not going to contact you in cases of unclaimed property or funds. You will have to reach out to them. You never know what you may be owed unless you check.

Here is your state by state guid to discover unclaimed assets in your name. 

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