Unclaimed money discussed


Unclaimed money and red-light cameras were discussed at the May 30 meeting of the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association.

"Right now $2.5 billion, that’s with a capital ‘B,’ belongs to Illinois residents," Illinois Treasurer’s Office marketing representative Barbara Chalko said of the state’s "iCash" program.

Residents and business owners can check to see if they have unclaimed funds at icash.illi noistreasuer.gov. "Usually one out of four persons find money," Chalko said.

The state keeps the funds until the original owner or an heir submits a verifiable claim, and in many instances the funds represent unpaid wages, bill overpayments or uncollected money from insurance policies.

In some instances the state may search for the owner.

The treasurer’s office called a 92-year-old woman who had $250,000 in unclaimed funds, but she hung up the phone, presumably because she suspected a scam, Chalko said. Eventually a state senator helped to locate a relative of the woman, and the money was returned, she said.

In other cases, the state may seize an abandoned safety deposit box and save any funds.

Other items in the boxes, which can include baseball cards, coins and other collectibles, may be auctioned, and the money paid for the items is saved until a proper claim is made. The treasurer’s office has two investigators who open abandoned safety deposit boxes and record the contents.

Chalko also reported that the treasurer’s office has a program intended for charitable groups which provide food, housing and workforce development. Grants of up to $25,000 are available, and the program is funded through filing fees collected from nonprofit agencies when they register with the state.

The office also has a new savings program for those with disabilities, and the money accrued does not affect an applicant’s eligibility for federal assistance, Chalko said.

Also at the meeting, association officials encouraged members to attend a Wednesday, June 14, community meeting on a proposal to install red-light cameras near Milwaukee Avenue, Central Avenue, Foster Avenue and Northwest Highway. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.

Accident and traffic data for the intersections will be presented at the meeting, and representatives of the city Department of Transportation will be available to answer questions.