Automation Leads To Major Increase In Unclaimed Property

LITTLE ROCK, AR (Talk Business) -- Automation has led to an 84% increase in the recovery of unclaimed property by Arkansas citizens, according to Auditor of State Charlie Daniels.

Last year, Talk Business reported on how the office developed a new online filing system that allowed for faster access and quicker recovery of unclaimed property.

Wednesday, Daniels’ office disclosed that the electronic filing service resulted in an 84% increase in the return of unclaimed property dollars in 2013 versus 2012.

“We knew online filing would be an easier alternative to paper claim forms, and the numbers prove it. I am pleased at the impact online filing has had for the people of Arkansas who are trying to claim their money and at the improvements it’s brought to our program,” said Daniels.

In calendar year 2012, before online filing was offered, the auditor’s office paid 7,554 claims worth $7,272,205. After a soft launch of electronic filing in January of 2013 and a full launch in March of that year, the auditor’s office paid 17,689 claims worth $13,426,189 by the end of 2013. That’s a 134% increase in claims and an 84% increase in dollars paid.

Of the total claims paid in 2013, 56% were filed online, resulting in the claimant receiving a check within 7 days.

Before online filing, claimants were required to file a paper claim form along with additional documentation such as copies of a driver’s license and a social security card. Because paper claims are more labor intensive, claimants often had to wait up to 30 days to receive a check.

Daniels said that despite the increase in claims received there is still plenty of unclaimed property on record in his office.

“There are millions of dollars left to be claimed in the Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt, and getting your money back is only a few clicks away,” he said.

Visit and start by typing a name in the search box.

Arkansas law requires businesses and government organizations to report abandoned property to the Auditor of State after the property remains unclaimed for a specified period of time, usually 1-5 years depending on the type of property.

Unclaimed property can include things like credit balances, security deposits, utility refunds, stocks, bonds, cash and even mineral royalties. Once the property is turned over to the Auditor of State, it remains in trust for the original owner or the owner’s heirs to come forward and claim. Since the program’s inception, the Auditor of State has returned over $102 million to original owners of unclaimed property.

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