How to tell if one of the $ 29 billion in unredeemed U.S. savings bonds is yours
Try entering your social security number on Treasury Hunt, an online research tool operated by the Treasury Department. The ministry has scanned its old savings bond records, and if your information has been uploaded to the site, you should be able to see a record of your savings bonds.
I’ve found nothing. Does that mean I’m out of luck?
Some savings bond files have not yet been uploaded to the site. And Social Security numbers were not required for bonds purchased before 1974, which, according to a Treasury Department report, represent about 12% of those that are not redeemed.
In addition, bonds were not always purchased in the name of the beneficiary. If a grandparent, aunt, or uncle bought you one as a gift, they often used their own information for the purchase.
OK, so how can I verify any of these links, especially if a parent is no longer alive?
If you have your deceased relative’s Social Security number, the process is straightforward. Just use it to search for savings bonds under their name on Treasury Hunt.
But again, this only works if your parent’s records have been uploaded.
What if I don’t have their social security number?
Now things are getting more difficult. You can ask a family member if it’s recorded somewhere. You can also try to search for a death certificate, which will have the number, or other official documents.
If these don’t work, finding this information will likely be a long and complicated process. You can make an electronic request to the Social Security Administration for the death of a deceased person. Social Security File or fill out and submit a form called SSA-711. But it can take weeks to get a response.
What if I had already found my savings voucher?
If you have your paper file, you can cash your deposit at most banks. If the bank cannot redeem your bond, you can send a request for payment directly to the Treasury Department. Depending on the type of savings bond, you may need to submit additional forms. Filling out the forms is a complex process, and it is not known when you will receive a response.
The Treasury Department has an online guide that contains more information.
How do I redeem someone else’s savings bond?
It also goes through a form. Complete and mail the Department of the Treasury Form 1048. This requires a lot of information about the bond owner, including their social security number, full name, address on the savings bond, and your relationship with the owner.
You may also need to submit other forms, so you should consult the Treasury Department guide for more information.
It all sounds really complicated. Can the government facilitate this process?
This is the purpose of the Unclaimed Savings Bonds Act. This would require the Treasury Department to provide state governments with information about savings bonds, such as serial numbers and the names and addresses of owners. States have unclaimed property programs that supporters of the bill say are better equipped than the federal government to bring bond owners together with their money.
But for now, the information necessary for the redemption of savings bonds is stored by the Treasury Department. If you need help with the process, you can call the Treasury Department helpline. at 844-284-2676 or by email at [email protected]
Neya Thanikachalam can be contacted at [email protected]