It Pays To Check Your Checks

State program holds unclaimed funds.

Say you are owed a check, from a business or from the State, and it never arrived. You may have forgotten about it, moved with no forwarding address, or the amount was too small to check up on.

Well, in as much time as it takes to fill out a Census form, you can have that money. The State of Hawaii, Department of Budget and Finance has a program that receives all those undelivered checks and holds on to them – currently around $150 million in unclaimed funds, according to Colleen C. Ajifu, Program Specialist.

The Unclaimed Property Program may be a hidden gem in this time of economic woe. Their website allows residents of Hawaii to search by name or business for any unclaimed funds. A search of ‘Molokai’ brings up many businesses with that name in the title – Molokai Properties, Molokai Fish, Molokai Guided Mule Tours, Molokai High School, to name a few – as well as the organization who owes that money and how much.

Over the past four years, the department has handled a yearly average of nearly 8,000 claims, with an average check amount of $653.

David Mikami, owner of Molokai Drugs, came across the program on a newscast one morning and had his daughter, Kim Svetin, look into it. She found $76 owned to the business, as well as a claim for her grandmother.

“I was shocked,” Svetin said. “You don’t realize [it’s there] – you think you cashed all your checks.”

To check if there are any outstanding payments, visit www.ehawaii.gov/lilo/app. If your name or business is found, you can either file a claim as the original owner, on behalf of the deceased owner, or as a business owner. Mail in the claim and provide a document that proves you own that property, a copy of current identification with mailing address and social security number.

Svetin said the process is easy, and the check arrives in a few weeks.

“There’s no reason not to go on [the site],” Svetin added.

The Unclaimed Property Program was established to provide the residents of Hawaii and others with the opportunity to claim and recover funds that may have been forgotten and reported to the Program, according to Ajifu.  The Program holds in safekeeping unclaimed property for the rightful owners and provides free public service to claim the available funds. Unclaimed property owners may file a claim at any time.

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