Baran-Unland: I had unclaimed money in ICash twice

It’s certainly worth a few minutes to look

Many people don’t know that the state of Illinois safeguards unclaimed money until the original owner or their heirs claim it.

But that is the gist of the ICash program. Once people claim their funds and present the proper identification, the state of Illinois returns the property to them at no cost. According to the Illinois State Treasurer Office’s unclaimed property page, more than $5 billion is currently unclaimed.

That’s mainly because people don’t think to check. I was one of them.

In August 2022, a relative contacted me saying I had about $100 unclaimed. The relative assured me it wasn’t a spam message and sent me the link.

I looked, and the amount was actually more than that. I had reimbursements from three different medical bills, and they actually accrued interest while in the Illinois State Treasurer Office’s custody.

The problem at first was proving they were mine. The reimbursements were from a brief time I had lived with my parents in their Joliet home, and no one had lived at that address for many years.

So I tucked the problem in the back of my head and went on with life. In mid-2023, I found an old note to myself to check with my accountant. I did, and he had the proof in a tax return from years ago.

I submitted the information to ICash and received an email in mid-September saying that I would receive the following amounts in five to 10 business days: $109.86 (plus $19.84 in interest), $247.86 (plus $51.07 in interest) and $117.34 (plus $21.53 in interest).

And I did!

While preparing for this column, I went back to the ICash site and retraced my steps.

Lo and behold, I found more unclaimed money. This time, the unclaimed property was a refund from my internet provider from 2018.

I found unclaimed money for quite a few of my relatives, too. So even if you think you don’t have any unclaimed money waiting for you, it’s certainly worth a few minutes to look.

Now, the refund from my internet provider was only $5.13. But what a nice cup of coffee it will buy!

I’m claiming it.

To check for unclaimed property, visit

• Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor at the Herald-News. Contact her at 815-280-4122 or