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Carolyn Epstein was researching the cost of an emergency response system. “I’m getting older and I have a disabled son,” she says. “If I fall, he might not be able to get me help.” So the 75-year-old member of Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) was thrilled to find out she had unclaimed property held by the state that will help her pay for the system. “It’s found money, so I thought I would put it to use for good.”

Federation is joining Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel in a partnership in the Unclaimed Property Older Missourian Education Initiative. At a press conference on May 21 to announce the partnership, representatives from NORC and the Treasurer’s office helped St. Louis NORC members and residents of Covenant House/CHAI Apartments check online whether they had unclaimed property and start the claims process.

“Federation serves as a facilitator to connect people—this partnership is an example of that role,” says Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D., President and CEO of Federation. “One of our strategic priorities is to build a safety net for the most vulnerable. Older adults shouldn’t have to struggle to meet their most basic needs. They should be able to maintain their independence and live with dignity. Federation supports the healthy aging of seniors through programs like St. Louis NORC and Covenant House, so we are happy to support the Unclaimed Property Initiative.”

The Treasurer’s office  will be working with Federation to provide educational resources including newsletter articles, web articles and social media outreach about unclaimed property. Federation plans to hold meetings to talk to individuals, family members and caregivers about unclaimed property and how to help families begin the claims process.

Zweifel currently holds more than $750 million in unclaimed property for more than 4.4 million account holders. The average returned account is $300. Individuals can search for unclaimed property 24 hours a day on Zweifel’s website, www.ShowMeMoney.com.

Treasurer Zweifel is also warning older Missourians not to provide personal or financial information to individuals who claim they can help return unclaimed property. “Unfortunately, older Missourians are often targeted by scams involving unclaimed property,” he says. “I never charge to return your property. It is important for older Missourians new to the Internet to be careful as they search for unclaimed property. I will never ask for your credit card information. I encourage you to contact my team any time you question the validity of an email or letter regarding unclaimed property.”

Click here to listen to an interview with KTRS (mp3)