By LESLIE EIKLEBERRY
Lynn Rogers wants to help you find money that belongs to you.
The state treasurer was in Salina Thursday to promote his office's program to reunite citizens with unclaimed funds. He was at Ad Astra Books & Coffee House, 141 N. Santa Fe Avenue Thursday afternoon to help people determine whether they had unclaimed funds.
According to Rogers, his office is safeguarding more than $400 million in lost property.
Rogers said that just in Salina there are about 40,500 claims. He explained that some of those may be multiple claims for a single person.
"That's a lot of claims for about $6.3 million that's just for the Salina zip code," Rogers said. "So that's one of the reasons why we're here. We're wanting to encourage people to find it and get it back."
Rogers said the state has returned almost $8.8 million to people since Jan. 4 with the average claim being over $200.
People interested in checking for unclaimed funds that belong to them can do so by going to kansascash.ks.gov or by calling 785-296-4165. Rogers said that checking is easy, fast, and free. If people are asked to pay to check for money, they are not on the state treasurer's website, he said.
Rogers suggested that people check once a year for unclaimed funds.
Earlier in the day, Rogers returned a check for $16,000 to the City of Salina and one for $6,300 to the Smoky Hill Education Service Center.
Rogers said that some people may wonder why entities such as the City of Salina were not aware of such a large amount of money sitting there waiting to be claimed.
"They never know if a check doesn't get mailed to them, if the mail turns it back. But even more importantly, often times, the reason they don't get it is because the name is funky," Rogers said.
As an example, he talked about money that recently was given back to the Wichita School District. He said there were multiple checks with varying names such as "Wichita Schools," "Wichita Public," "Wichita Public Schools," "USD 259," "259 Schools," etc.
He said there were about a dozen different names that the checks, such as vendor checks and refunds, were made out to, and so they were returned.
Another factor that has played into entities missing out on checks is if they have moved and the checks are not forwarded from the old addresses.
Rogers' office also deals with unclaimed contents from safe deposit boxes.
Items from safe deposit boxes that are turned over to the state treasurer's office are stored in a vault for approximately two years. If during that time the contents are not claimed, they are sold and the money from the sale goes into an account that the rightful owner can claim at a later date, Rogers said.
"I think that's probably sometimes the saddest part of this job when there's family heirlooms that are in those safe deposit boxes and they don't go back to the family," he said.