Bizzarro bill aims to modernize PA Treasury’s unclaimed property process

Would implement mandatory return of all unclaimed property under $10K

HARRISBURG, Feb. 1 – The Pennsylvania Treasury currently has $4.5 billion dollars in unclaimed property stuck in limbo waiting to be returned to its rightful owners. The process to return that property, however, is cumbersome and antiquated. That’s why state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie) is introducing legislation to modernize the process and make it easier for Pennsylvania residents to collect what’s theirs.

Unclaimed property currently held by the PA Treasury can include money from old bank accounts, savings bonds, coins, jewelry, military medals and other physical items. Bizzarro’s bill would mandate the automatic return of all items worth less than $10,000 to any owner whose contact information can be verified by the PA Treasury within the last year. The Treasury would gain limited access to Department of Revenue and State Department databases to connect people with their lost possessions.

“This is money that belongs to the people of Pennsylvania. The PA Treasury should be doing the heavy lifting when it comes to returning unclaimed property, not the other way around,” said Bizzarro. “This bill would make it easier and quicker for people to reunite with what’s rightfully theirs. No more forcing people to figure out an outdated claims system.”

Under the bill, any person that has unclaimed property exceeding $10,000 will be notified by the PA Treasury to claim their belongings.

Bizzarro’s legislation would also increase transparency in the PA Treasury by instituting monthly reporting of new unclaimed property and the efforts taken to return it. It would also enhance fraud protection by publishing information on companies that assist people in finding unclaimed property, and instituting a finder’s fee cap, all to make sure no one is scammed or treated unfairly.

“The current unclaimed properties page on the PA Treasury website isn’t updated nearly as often as it should be. By mandating the monthly reporting of new unclaimed property, we can work to return it as quickly as possible,” said Bizzarro. “And strengthening fraud protection is vital to ensure that no one is being taken advantage of by simply trying to get back what they lost.”

Fourteen other states have implemented some form of automatic return for unclaimed property. Bizzarro is currently gathering co-sponsors for the legislation and will officially introduce it on the House floor in the coming weeks.