HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella recently announced improvements to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property (BUP) operations software—the first upgrade in more than 15 years.
“Treasury holds nearly $4 billion in unclaimed property that is owed to Pennsylvanians, and we rather not have any of it. As Treasurer, I want that property back in the hands of the people it belongs to. I’m proud that we’re able to put this major system upgrade in place now. In difficult times where every dollar counts, these upgrades will make the process much smoother for returning property back where it belongs: in the hands of the 1 in 10 Pennsylvanians who have unclaimed property held by the state Treasury,” stated Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Joe Torsella.
The improvements to BUP’s systems will increase efficiency and effectiveness of the unclaimed property program for staff, holders and claimants. Upgrades in process include additional fraud protections through multi-level validations, online authentication of some claims, and the ability for ACH payment disbursements. Prior to these improvements claimants received payment via paper check only. These upgrades will also decrease claims processing times—getting property back to the rightful owner more quickly.
Holder reporting improvements will help identify errors before reports are submitted, streamlining the process for institutions and companies reporting property to Treasury. The upgrades are the result of a publicly bid contract procurement.
Unclaimed property can end up at Treasury due to something as simple as a misspelled name or incorrect address. Unclaimed property can include dormant bank accounts, forgotten stocks, uncashed checks and the contents of safe deposit boxes—including tangible items like jewelry, family heirlooms, military decorations and savings bonds.
Treasury receives hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed property annually and currently has $3.8 billion in unclaimed property waiting to be returned to the rightful owner. One-in-ten Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property.
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