PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Nearly 15,000 people will soon receive a total of $2.5 million in unclaimed property checks, according to R.I. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.
People will begin receiving their missing money thanks to the “Your Money” program, which uses state databases to match unclaimed property with a person’s address so missing money can be returned automatically.
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“We’ve been through a lot as a state over the last year,” Magaziner said. “There are a lot of people who are struggling, who were impacted directly by COVID or the recession, and there’s a lot of families in Rhode Island that are still struggling to make ends meet.”
“So every little bit of help that we can get to people is important,” he continued. “Whether it’s a couple hundred dollars or whether it’s a couple thousand dollars, that can make a big difference to a family on a tight budget.”
Checks of up to $2,500 will start being mailed out this week, according to Magaziner, and they will be accompanied by a letter explaining the source of the unclaimed property.
“It might be an old bank account that went dormant … it might be an insurance settlement that never made it to the right place … or money from a utility company that owes you a refund but didn’t know how to find you,” Magaziner explained.
For Marilena DiCristofano, that money disappeared from her emergency account, which she tried to tap into last winter while trying to replace the heating system in her home.
“Unfortunately the money had already gone to unclaimed property for the state,” she said. “It was an account that I hadn’t been putting money in for awhile, so I completely forgot about it.”
DiCristofano tells 12 News she visited the “Find RI Money” website to track down her emergency fund.
“I was like ‘oh great, I can get this money back, it’s not like it’s gone forever,'” DiCristofano said.
When all is said and done, DiCristofano said she will be receiving a check for nearly $10,000 in unclaimed property, which she said will replenish her emergency fund.
“Our mission is to strengthen Rhode Island’s economy and make Rhode Islanders more financially secure,” Magaziner said. “This money doesn’t belong to the state, it doesn’t belong to the companies that were holding this money before. This money belongs to Rhode Islanders.”