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CFO Patronis Directs Division of Unclaimed Property to Prioritize Claims in Hurricane Ian Affected Counties

10/6/2022
For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 6, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842
 

CFO Patronis Directs Division of Unclaimed Property to Prioritize Claims in Hurricane Ian Affected Counties

SOUTHWEST, Fla. – Today, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis directed the Division of Unclaimed Property to prioritize the expedited processing of claims for individuals who are located in the counties most severely affected by Hurricane Ian. Giving priority status to these claims will accelerate the possible return of funds to those in the affected counties so that they can utilize these resources to put their lives back together.

In 2019, the CFO championed legislation that allows the Division of Unclaimed Property to disburse funds to any public government entity or district in Florida without that entity having to first file a claim. The Division identified approximately 17,000 recent claims submitted from individuals located across the most severely affected counties, with an approximate total of $13 million dollars, including $335,084 to the Lee Health System in Ft. Myers. If the individuals are found to be legally entitled to these assets through the claims process, they will be issued the funds as quickly as possible. This also includes the identification of counties, municipalities and school districts in the most severely affected areas that may have unclaimed property available to them. 

CFO Patronis said, “I am heartbroken by the devastation I am witnessing in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. What these individuals need during this time are services and available funds to assist them in rebuilding their lives. So many people have experienced total loss of their homes and possessions. We are beginning to process and distribute unclaimed property checks to public entities in Southwest Florida to assist in the recovery effort. This $335K will go a long way in getting Lee Health System the resources needed for area residents to get back on their feet. An injection of cash as quickly as possible into the pockets of these public entities and individuals will be essential in helping them to get their lives back in order.”

CEO of Lee Health System Dr. Lawrence Antonucci, MD, MBA, said, “Leveraging the state’s unclaimed property program is an innovative way to get funding to communities that were impacted by Hurricane Ian. This more than $300,000 to the Lee Health System will go a long way in helping us treat those that were impacted by Hurricane Ian. Every dollar counts, and I appreciate CFO Patronis' efforts in helping this area rebuild.”

Unclaimed property is a financial asset that is unknown or lost, or has been left inactive, unclaimed or abandoned by its owner. The most common types of unclaimed property are dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit balances and refunds. Unclaimed property also includes contents from abandoned safe deposit boxes in financial institutions. Unclaimed property assets are held by business or government entities (holders) for a set period of time, usually five years. If the holder is unable to locate, re-establish contact with the owner and return the asset, it is reported and remitted to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Unclaimed Property.

To search for unclaimed property or to claim an account, go online to FLTreasureHunt.gov.