Congressman Darin LaHood and a Bipartisan group made up of members of the Ways and Means Committee introduced the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2019 yesterday.
The legislation would require the U.S. Treasury Department to transfer all records and ownership of unclaimed, matured savings bonds to states to find the rightful owners and heirs of the bonds. The bipartisan legislation has seven total cosponsors including both LaHood and Illinois Democrat Representative Danny Davis.
According to a press release from LaHood’s Office, currently there are more than $26 billion worth of decades old, matured, unclaimed United States Savings Bonds at the U.S. Treasury, a number that has grown by roughly $10 billion in the last six years.
LaHood said that Illinois has over $1 billion in matured and unclaimed savings bonds, and that ‘if the Federal government continues to refuse to notify the rightful owners of matured bonds, then the states should be allowed to step in and do so.”
The federal government has the ability to use this money with no restriction, even though the money constitutes a loan made to the government by citizens decades ago.
Despite maintaining records of the bond owners and their bonds, the Treasury has done nothing to contact the rightful owners of the un-redeemed bonds, even when the bonds matured and were payable.
While states often make efforts to return unclaimed property, The U.S. Treasury has refused to give states access to the records to do so. Since 1952, states have attempted to get the federal government to turn over the names and addresses of those individuals so they could be found and notified of their unclaimed bonds. Recently, states, beginning with Kansas, have initiated litigation to obtain the records from the Treasury Department.