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A new initiative is hoped to connect Missourians in financial need with valuable unclaimed property.

State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick and Anna Hui, director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, announced Friday the treasurer's office and DOLIR's Division of Employment Security have partnered to get unclaimed property returned to Missourians who have filed for unemployment.

"We thought about this early on in the pandemic," Fitzpatrick said, and after six months of working to make it happen, he hopes property and financial assets returned from safe deposit boxes can offer some additional income for people hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic's economic crisis.

Safe deposit boxes are turned over to the state treasurer's office by banks after years of inactivity or no contact from the owner.

At least one in 10 Missourians has unclaimed property, and the treasurer's office does not charge anything to return unclaimed property, Fitzpatrick said.

He said DOLIR's data included more current contact information, including email addresses.

Hui said DOLIR returned potential matches to the treasurer's office — something allowed under state law and a memorandum of understanding.

Approximately 90,000 emails have been sent out to people who are likely holders of unclaimed property and have also filed for unemployment, Fitzpatrick said.

Attorneys from both offices did review to make sure that was legal, he said, and once unclaimed property is returned, the treasurer's office does not have any interest in information beyond contact information.

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A similar partnership last year with the state's Department of Social Services matched unclaimed property with past-due child support, resulting in more than $3 million in past-due child support payments to families, according to a news release from the treasurer's office.

The news release noted the outreach efforts from the partnership with DOLIR have already resulted in $186,000 of unclaimed property being returned to almost 2,300 Missourians, "with many of those checks already in the mail."

Outreach may also come in the form of a postcard in the mail or by a phone call.

More information is available at ShowMeMoney.com.

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