Pennsylvania State Treasurer Stacy Garrity seeks to reunite house owners with unclaimed property | Native Information
Nearly $ 4 billion in collectibles, dormant bank and retirement accounts, jewelry, military medals, stocks, and unpaid checks in Pennsylvania are waiting to be claimed from their owners.
“Any excuse we have to talk about unclaimed property, we do because it’s so much money and could be really helpful to a lot of people,” said Pennsylvania State Treasurer Stacy Garrity during an interview with the Philadelphia Tribune .
One in ten Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property, and the average claim is about $ 2,000.
According to Garrity, companies are required to report unclaimed property to the Treasury after a three-year dormant period if it belongs to a known owner. If it belongs to an unknown owner, companies must report it to the Treasury Department after one year.
The Treasury Department currently has $ 644 million in unclaimed Philadelphian property, according to Garrity.
The department receives hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed property each year from abandoned lockers, banks, colleges and universities, nursing homes, and police evidence.
The state treasury is trying to return nearly 700 military awards that are in its vault, including Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars, and Meritorious Service Medals.
“We’ve returned 72 since I took office in January and we still have more than 659 so we’re trying to return them to their rightful owners,” Garrity said.
“Since I’m a veteran myself, that’s very important to me and you really can’t put a price tag on these decorations.”
People can visit the Pennsylvania Treasury website to see if they have unclaimed property.
Garrity also announced a proposed austerity program that would increase pension security in the state.
The Keystone Saves program is designed to make it easier for people to save for retirement. The program is for companies with five or more employees who do not offer a retirement plan and who have been with the Commonwealth for more than a year.
“In Pennsylvania we have just over two million people who haven’t saved for retirement and they don’t have emergency reserves,” Garrity said.
“That will cost the Commonwealth $ 14.5 billion in more government benefits and $ 1.4 billion in less tax revenue.”
“So that’s where keystone saves comes in,” she continued. “It helps people save so they can be more independent and less dependent on government services in retirement.”
“It’s run like a public-private partnership,” said Garrity.
“There are two critical factors to Keystone Saves – true individual control and no burden on companies.”
Seven states have implemented similar programs, three of them in California, Illinois, and Oregon, according to a Pew report.
State lawmakers are working on a bill that would allow the Treasury Department to set up the austerity program.
“I am pleased to know that we will be bringing a bill, and I am very proud that it is a bipartisan effort,” said Garrity
She advocated the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Age Adjustment Act. The law was introduced by US Sens. Jerry Moran. R-Kan. and Bob Casey, D-Pa., would upgrade program eligibility and allow people who developed a disability prior to a certain age to open ABLE accounts.
“That will give 6 million more Americans access to save for their disabilities with other impacts on their federal programs, and that includes a million veterans,” Garrity said.
State-administered ABLE accounts allow individuals who developed a disability prior to the age of 26 to open a savings account for their disability expenses without the risk of losing disability benefits such as Safety Income and Medicaid.
Garrity also highlighted Pennsylvania’s 529 College and Career Savings program, which helps families save on educational expenses at colleges, universities, and technical and vocational schools. The money can also be used to pay for tuition fees in public, private, or religious elementary or secondary schools.
“This program has paid out more than $ 4.5 billion in skilled education spending over the life of the program, and that’s important because Pennsylvania has the second highest student debt in the US,” said Garrity.