Louisianians who need a little extra cash this Christmas — and who doesn’t? — could have an unexpected surprise waiting for them at the state treasury.

The state treasury has more than $477 million in unclaimed funds including payroll checks, old bank accounts, royalties, utility deposits, interest payments, stock certificates and life insurance proceeds. Approximately one in six Louisiana residents has unclaimed money listed with the state, with the average refund $300 to $400.

Louisiana residents can search for unclaimed money and file a claim for it online here. Residents can also search for missing money by calling toll-free (nationwide) 1-888-925-4127. Searching is free.

“Our staff will be working very hard to process claims quickly this holiday season and will put a rush on anything filed over the next few weeks,” says state Treasurer John Kennedy. “We can’t guarantee an exact date when your check will arrive in the mail, but we pledge to do everything possible to provide a quick turnaround on your claim.”

Over the unclaimed property program’s history, the treasury has collected more than $705 million and returned more than $227 million to Louisiana residents. The largest amount of unclaimed property ever returned to one individual was a $1 million refund for a New Orleans area resident.

In order for the Treasury to return unclaimed money quickly during the holidays, an individual’s claim must be complete and accurate. Ownership of claimed property must be verified, and an individual needs a Social Security Card, driver’s license or other form of identification to claim his or her money.

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