For Immediate Release - May 23, 2011

Secretary Nee and Treasurer Grossman Announce Partnership to Connect Massachusetts Veterans to Unclaimed Property

BOSTON - Monday, May 23, 2011 - Secretary of Veterans' Services Coleman Nee and Treasurer Steven Grossman issued a letter to all Veteran Service Officers across the Commonwealth to request their assistance in helping to connect veterans in their communities with their rightful unclaimed property. This effort utilizes a newly developed list of over 2,350 Massachusetts-based veterans with unclaimed property worth as much as a few thousand dollars.

"Working to help identify benefits and services for veterans is a hallmark of the Department of Veterans' Services' mission," said Secretary of Veterans' Services Coleman Nee. "We are proud to partner with Treasurer Grossman in an effort to connect veterans with their unclaimed property. I am grateful to our Veterans' Services Officers throughout the Commonwealth who will be assisting us in our efforts. Together, we all continue to work hard to ensure that Massachusetts veterans are receiving all of the benefits and services available to them."

The Department of Veterans' Services partnered with the Treasurer's office to generate a list of veterans who may have unclaimed property by comparing a list of veterans who have participated in the "Welcome Home Bonus" program with the Unclaimed Property database maintained by the Treasury. The Unclaimed Property database includes forgotten savings and checking accounts, uncashed checks, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, dividends and contents of neglected safe deposit boxes. Most of these items are designated as "abandoned" and turned over to the Treasury after an extended period of time.

This is a matter of simple fairness for the men and women who wear or who have worn the uniform of our armed forces," said Treasurer Grossman. "Our message to veterans is very clear: this is their property, and the Treasury is going to do everything we can to return it to them."

Local Veterans Services Officers (VSOs) across Massachusetts will be an integral part of this statewide initiative. The primary function of a VSO is to assist veterans in the community learn about, apply for, and receive benefits for which they may be eligible. Every city and town in Massachusetts is obligated by law to have a designated VSO. In addition to reaching out to veterans to discuss their unclaimed property, this effort will provide VSOs with an opportunity to educate veterans about the range benefits and services available to them.

Any Massachusetts resident who would like to determine if they have unclaimed property should contact the Department of the State Treasurer by visiting the website or by calling 888-344-MASS (6277).