Louisiana has joined nearly two dozen other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling blocking states’ efforts to collect unclaimed, mature U.S. savings bonds from the federal government.

State Treasurer John Kennedy says the feds are withholding $16.5 billion in bonds that are no longer earning interest, and he argues purchasers of those bonds or their descendents should be allowed to redeem those now-mature bonds.

“Americans, including Louisianans, are owed billions of dollars in unclaimed savings bonds which haven’t been redeemed,” Kennedy says. “We owe it to the American citizens who invested in our country to return the money that rightfully belongs to them.”

Savings bonds mature over decades, Kennedy points out, thus it’s easy to forget about them 20 or 30 years after they were purchased.

Several states filed suit against the U.S. Treasury Department in 2004 over the issue, and last June a federal appeals court ruled against the states, saying that Uncle Sam does not have to follow the same laws on unclaimed property as individual states.

To find out more about unclaimed U.S. savings bonds click here.

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