Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced today she has returned $1 billion in unclaimed property to rightful owners since she took office in 2007. This is the largest sum of money ever returned by a Texas Comptroller.

“When I took office in January 2007 I was committed to return as much unclaimed money as possible to owners who may have forgotten about it,” Combs said. “We launched extensive outreach efforts and streamlined processes to help reunite more owners with their money.”

The Comptroller presented Austin firefighter Greg Reddish with $2,009.64 today, which took total payments across the landmark threshold. Approximately 1.1 million claims have been approved since 2007 totaling $1 billion over six and a half years. Unclaimed property payments began in 1962, and approximately $900.8 million was returned in the 44 years prior to Combs taking office.

The Comptroller added new features in the claims process and expanded outreach efforts to increase the amount of returned money. They include:

An automated-review process for claims up to $5,000 that matches information in online claim forms to data in the unclaimed property system in order to expedite those claims.

Access to a dynamic public records database to help efficiently verify claimants and speed up approvals – decreasing the time to pay claims filed by original owners from 45 days to about 20 days.

Grass roots staff that sets up at events such as expos, the Texas State Fair and events with county treasurers to help Texans find and claim their unclaimed property on the spot.

Improvements to the Unclaimed Property website that make it easier for claimants to identify and submit a claim for property.

Annual notification letters to owners of certain types of property valued $100 or more that was reported to the state in the preceding year.

Brochures in libraries promoting the unclaimed property program website phone number.

Unclaimed property includes forgotten utility deposits or other refunds, insurance proceeds, payroll checks, cashier’s checks, dividends, mineral royalties, dormant bank accounts and abandoned safe deposit box contents. Businesses turn over property to the unclaimed property program after the property they’re holding has been dormant for generally between one to five years.

“We will continue our efforts to get as much money back into the right hands,” said Combs. “I encourage people to search our website at any time or call us to see if they have money waiting for them and start the process of getting that money back. After all, it’s your money!”

There is no statute of limitations for unclaimed property the state is holding, which means there is no time limit for owners to file a claim – they can do so at any time.

To search for unclaimed property and begin the claims process, visit www.ClaimItTexas.org or call 1-800-654-FIND (3463).