Rutherford discusses I-Cash changes

Justin Miller
Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford talks to Washington Rotary members July 10 about the state’s I-Cash program.

The state of Illinois is trying to help Washington residents reclaim what they may not know is theirs.

Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford visited the Washington Rotary Club at the Washington Evangelical United Methodist Church July 10 to discuss the state’s I-Cash program.

“I have $1.5 billion worth of assets or property that belong to somebody else,” Rutherford said. “An example of that would be a safety deposit box.

“So say grandma opened a safety deposit and put in a gold coin, grandpa’s stamp collection and junior’s high school report card.

“Grandma moves to a nursing home and grandma passes away. The financial institution, for five years tries to get the payment on the safety deposit box.

“Well, they can’t get a hold of grandma, so after five years they are obligated by law to turn it over to me as the state treasurer.”

The I-Cash program helps connect state residents with their unclaimed property through the Illinois State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division.

Established in 1999 as the Cash Dash program, the newly renamed I-Cash program helps the one in eight Illinois residents that has an asset or assets  to be claimed, according to the program’s website.

“What we’ve done differently is that we’ve tried to move it into a different degree of information,” Rutherford said about the program. “We tweeted about it, we Facebook about it, we Youtube about it, we put out emails on it.”

“We put it all on the Internet and kind of expanded upon it.”

Rutherford said that one of his top priorities with the program was to raise better awareness of the program and how many people have unclaimed property that they don’t know about.

Some examples of these assets are stocks and CDs, unpaid wages or commissions, paid-up life insurance policies, money orders and bill overpayments, money or safe deposit boxes and valuables.

According to the treasurer’s office, the state has $1.5 billion in cash and contents from Illinois bank safe deposit boxes that still need to be

claimed by state residents.

The majority of these properties are returned to the state after five years of inactivity.

Rutherford’s first year in office was the most successful one in state history as it marked the first time that more than $100 million was returned to owners.

The year total was $101,679,655, which is an increase of 23 percent over the following year.

“So I said, how can we build this up,” Rutherford said about taking over the I-Cash program in 2011. “So we’ve been doing a lot of what this is and that’s coming to communities.

“We’ll go all over the place.”

Recently, the program has added 780,000 names to the database of people  in the state with unclaimed assets.

“If you checked your name before, go check it again because you have a good chance of it being in there,” Rutherford said. “We’re cranking it up and we will far and exceed the $101 million this year in 2012.”

To find out if you have unclaimed property, visit www.icash.illinois.gov to enter your name into the database.