Lakewood Resident Launches Unclaimed Properrty Gemach

A Lakewood resident, who would like to remain anonymous, has recently launched an ‘Unclaimed Property Gemach’, to assist residents claim property and funds which legally belongs to them.

The following article was submitted by the resident, E.Y: A little while ago I was thinking about the inevitability of the coming of Moshiach B”B . I was recently reminded that it is brought down that Moshiach will come by the Jewish year 6000. That is only a bit more than 200 years from now. We have a fast approaching date by which time it is absolutely guaranteed that Moshiach will come. So I started to envision that very last day, day 6,000. Trumpets blaring, shofar sounding, jubilation, world peace, end of hunger..

Now, of course my vision is just my mind’s way of trying to cope, and wrap around the basic idea. The scenarios which I  envisioned of Yemos Hamoshiach are very likely far from what will really happen. However, my point here is not the original stated thought itself, nor the images which it conjured. Rather, the main point I would like to share is actually a tangent, an offshoot from this original train of thought. The point of this article is what had actually occurred to me AFTER I was done thinking through these images and scenarios.

It struck me that the thought of Moshiach coming on that very last day has in it an aspect, a kernel, which is sad and a bit disappointing! Take a step back, and picture what day 6,000 really means. We were given thousands and thousands of years to bring about the coming of Moshiach. Is it truly a best case scenario if we would only be zoche to have him come on the VERY LAST day possible? Do we want Moshiach to be brought to us because we have hit the “expiration date”!? We all know that our acts of kindness, combined with our tefillos can, and in fact do hasten Moshiach’s coming. We have suffered, celebrated, hoped, believed and daavened all these years, with this final triumphant destination in mind. No one wants to feel as though Moshiach will come due to an arbitrary date. That would be very anticlimactic! Rather, we should be able to bring about the final days early due to our combined years of teshuvah, tezedakah and gemilus chasadim.

A prisoner will certainly rejoice upon his release from prison after serving a 40 year term. However, how much more joy and PRIDE will that inmate have, and in fact retain for life, if he secures an early release due to his good behavior. Of course we will rejoice upon the arrival of Moshiach, but won’t it be that much more of a simcha upon hearing and seeing that Moshiach came early due to our “good behavior”?

My train of thought has now travelled uphill, downhill, and through many twists and curves. However, in the end, my final thought before disembarking is this:

Our Avos, both recent and in the distant past have worked tirelessly toward this goal of bringing about Yemos Hamoshiach. Therefore, I am forced to ask myself, what can I personally do to continue the momentum, and keep  the ball rolling? How can I help and contribute to hastening the early coming of Moshiach? I have therefore decided to take upon myself an extra mitzva which will be specifically aimed and designated toward this goal. I view it as my Moshiach escrow fund. Imagine if every Yid in these final days would set aside such a “fund” of chesed? I am sure there are many who have already done so specifically. We are so close, shouldn’t we now give a final heave and extra push? I am not writing this as divrei mussar. I am not in a position, nor have I attained such a level where I may give m mussar to the tzibbur. Rather, I am simply verbalizing my thoughts and feelings in the hope that perhaps it may inspire others to set up their own similar “moshiach escrow funds”. Each person knows their capabilities and strengths. What matters is that we all feel as though we give our personal final push with all of our might, in order to bring about an early geulah , so that we may greet Moshiach’s coming with pride, a sense of complete joy and a wholehearted feeling of redemption B”B.

It is with this thought in mind that I would like to introduce my personal escrow fund chesed project.

The United States treasury department has a program for unclaimed property. Unclaimed property is not actual property as in land, but rather assets. The Government is holding billions of dollars in funds which belong to people but were never claimed. For instance, a person might have an inheritance of which they are not aware. Alternately, they might have a refund or paycheck, tax refund etc. which they never received. A person may be unaware that such funds even exist, as the original check may have been sent to an old address, or may have been simply sent to the wrong address. Each State has it’s own department which handles all cases for residents and businesses who have unclaimed property in that State. There is a searchable database, but it can be confusing to use the search. In addition, many people do not have access to these sites to perform a search. Many just do not suspect that there would be a reason for them to search, as they are not aware the funds exist. Therefore, I have gone through the Lakewood directory, and entered all names found therein, and have come up with a list of all Lakewood community members and businesses who have unclaimed property. Please bear in mind that this list is only of Lakewood residents, so if someone moved here from another City/State, even if it was a long time ago, they may very well have unclaimed property there. I will be releasing the Lakewood list slowly over the next few weeks, as it is a very long list. I am sure everyone has their own chesed projects. However, I would greatly appreciate it if readers would please contact anyone on the list so they may be made aware of their unclaimed funds, and may follow through on collecting their money. Additionally, if anyone is interested in compiling such a list for any other communities, please send an email to [email protected]. Below is some more information on unclaimed property, as well as instructions on how to collect the funds. The first part of the list will be published shortly.
 
Unclaimed property (sometimes referred to as abandoned) refers to accounts in financial institutions and companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one year or a longer period. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer over-payments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes.
 
Acting in the best interest of consumers, each state has enacted an unclaimed property statute that protects your funds from reverting back to the company if you have lost contact with them. These laws instruct companies to turn forgotten funds over to a state official who will then make a diligent effort to find you or your heirs. Most states hold lost funds until you are found, returning them to you at no cost or for a nominal handling fee upon filing a claim form and verification of your identity. Since it is impossible to store and maintain all of the contents that are turned over from safe deposit boxes, most states hold periodic auctions and hold the funds obtained from the sale of the items for the owner. Some states also sell stocks and bonds and return the proceeds to the owner in the same manner. 
 
Link to NJ unclaimed property site    http://www.unclaimedproperty.nj.gov/
Link to site for unclaimed property database search    http://www.missingmoney.com/
 
Once you see a name on the Lakewood list, or if you do your own search and find a name, you will be able to click on the link for your name and address. This will allow you to get the form to claim your money. Follow that link to the claim form page. Fill out the form, and send in all required copies of identification (including proof of address for the address which came up on the unclaimed property search). Following is a list of some accepted proofs of identity and address:
Unclaimed Property – Establishing Your Identity
Acceptable Credentials

Clear copy of driver’s license or other legal photo identification.
Proof of Social Security Number or FEIN
Documentation of name change if different than listed on the search results page.
Proof of the original owner’s address as listed on the search results page.
Below are examples to help prove the address or name relationship:
Auto Registration
Marriage Certificate
Utility Statement
Bank Statement
Court Documents
Medical Card
Insurance Policy
Birth Certificates
Divorce Decree
Canceled Check
Income Tax Return
Report Card
Pay Stub
Postmarked Envelope Addressed to You
Expired Driver’s License
W-2
If you have any questions, the NJ unclaimed property contact info is posted below.
 
Contact for information and for claims:
 
New Jersey
Office of the State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property
P.O. Box 214
Trenton, NJ 08695-0214
Phone: (609) 292-9200
[email protected]

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17 COMMENTS

  1. This is a very lengthy article, but lest anyone get confused, this is not a proprietary list. YOU Can go right now to the ny/nj/pa unclaimed websites and do a search for your name,, your parents, siblings, spouse etc. I am not sure what the gemach does here, perhaps helps you navigate the process of claiming funds. Or if someone does not have internet access, they can search for you

  2. Hi. The list will be in alphabetical order (I know the “Z”s are going to hate me!).
    In terms of the point of the list, there are a few reasons I put it together. First of all, quite often the reason someone has unclaimed property on the list is due to the misspelling of a person’s name. When I searched, I did a search using many variations on spelling of a person’s name. Another reason for the list is that Lakewood is a tight knit community. If the list has names of people who do not see the article, or someone who does not have access to the internet, at least their friends and family can now inform them, and perhaps take them through the simple process of collecting the money. I guess the article was not long enough after all 🙂 . Honestly, thank you for pointing out the holes in the article, it definitely could use that clarification you mentioned.

  3. Meshiv Avedah, I heard there was someone who does this for Baltimore and toronto. Is that you? I have heard a lot about you and your chesed if that is you!

  4. Whoever you are, you are quite impressive. You gave us needed mussar without talking down to us and you didn’t just “blah blah blah” about the importance of doing Chesed. You came up with a real concrete plan for yourself as inspiration to the rest of us to ACT. Thank you and much Hatzlacha.

  5. Can’t wait til you get to my letter. I’ll be waiting to see. I know a number of people who didn’t even realize they had money in an account (for one reason or another) and didn’t even know to look for it (someone brought it to their attention, similar to what you are doing). What a huge MItzvah. Hope it brings Mashiach “Bimhera BeYameinu”.

  6. Beautiful job. This entails lots of work. I am thinking once you got this far – why dont you/we call the person directly to let them know about it. Dont you have their phone number from the directory you used?

    I know this entails even more work, however, Maybe we can get this done with 1-2 volunteers.

    I have found for friends of mine in the past monies from these sites ranging from $50 to $20,000.

  7. Article was a little lengthy and at first I wasn’t even sure I wanted to read through it, but did and found every word valuable. We need more like you to really bring Moshiach.

  8. Thanks!
    In regard to calling people on the list, I think it’s a great idea, but the amount of time involved would require quite a few volunteers. i had tried making calls at first, but soon realized that each call entailed a 10 miunute explanation of the concept, as well as how to go about collecting the funds. If there were enough one-time volunteers, it could work with most people on the list (although some not, like the ones in yeshiva at 617 6th street). I would not want to ask anyone for their time, but if there are enough people it can be done direct by phone. Thanks.

  9. Yasher Koach to you for your efforts on hehalf of Klal Yisroel. Just make sure you don’t burn yourself out , it seems like a monumental task!

  10. I found myself on the list but don’t want to give my ss# online. Is their any other way to do this? Also, it came up under my hebrew name how do I prove to them that it’s me?

  11. #15. Hi. Although this service is a division of the department of the Treasury, you are certainly wise to try at all times to refrain from sending anyone a copy of your social securitycard. I would suggest calling them, as you do not necessarily need to send a copy of your social security card. Often, you can use something like a current or old license. Regarding the hebrew-english names, there are ways to prove that too, such as certain mail or documents. Hopefully, they can help you over the phone, if not please contact me via [email protected] and I will try to help.

Comments are closed.