Did you know that state governments hold onto paychecks that go uncashed? And if one of these paychecks are yours, your state department is waiting for you to claim it?
Every year, employers will turn paychecks that go unclaimed or uncashed over to their state department. Many people don’t even know that they have $1000s in uncashed paychecks—whether you lost your check, moved addresses, or just never received it doesn’t mean the money is gone forever. Read on to learn how you can find out whether you have cash waiting to be claimed.
There is a specific term that is used to describe an employee’s paycheck that employers turn over to the government because their employee has not cashed it yet. The term is an escheated check.
Usually, employers will turn paychecks over to their state government after a period of time has gone by without the check being cashed. Of course, an employee will typically not leave their checks uncashed on purpose. Maybe you moved to another address, or even another state, and the paycheck was sent to the wrong location. Or, maybe you lost the check after you received it.
Other reasons might be:
- You quit or were let go from your job and forgot to pick up your final check.
- The direct deposit information the employer had was incorrect.
- You have multiple jobs and lost track of which paychecks were owed to you.
No matter what the scenario, thousands of dollars go uncashed each year.
In the majority of states, you legally have between 1 and 5 years to cash and deposit the money you receive from your payroll before it is technically considered to be “unclaimed.” Once it is considered unclaimed, the employer must turn the check over to the state government, where it will be held until the rightful person claims it.
Before the money is turned over to the government, employers must, by law, make an effort to get in touch with the employee whose money it is. Your employer will likely try to get in touch with you by phone, mail or email.
If your employer does not have any luck getting in touch with you, don’t worry! Employers are legally not allowed to keep the money that is owed to you. If they do, they will have large fees and hefty fines imposed on them by the federal government. So, to avoid these fines, employers will typically send your unclaimed funds to the state department right away, even years before they are required to.
So, if you realize you have a missing paycheck, a good place to start is to reach out to the state department. They are likely holding onto it for you.
Next, find out how to start the process of receiving your unclaimed money.