Approximately $5 million will be sent to current and former Oregonians this fall when the state Unclaimed Property Program initiates a historic distribution of unclaimed funds.

And $5 million is just the beginning, the total pot has over $700 million to be divvied up among 3 million people eventually.

Beginning in mid-October, people will receive letters informing them of the forthcoming checks. The initial letter will be followed by a subsequent letter and check in early November.

The checks are funds, referred to as unclaimed property, that have been reported to the state by companies and organizations that do business with Oregonians and have been unable to return the money to the correct owner.

Common examples of unclaimed property include uncashed checks, forgotten bank accounts, security deposits, tax refunds, credit balances, investment accounts, payroll checks, refunds and more.

Typically, people need to file a claim with the unclaimed property program to receive the funds they are owed. However, given the unprecedented financial uncertainties and difficulties many are facing, the state has determined, for the first time ever, the funds will be directly mailed to the correct owner.

Checks distributed will vary in amount between $50 - $2500, depending on the account of unclaimed property each recipient is owed, and based on criteria described here.

While $5 million is being distributed this fall, the unclaimed property pot holds more than $700 million in unclaimed funds for 3 million owners. To recover funds not distributed this fall, property owners can file a claim here.

The Unclaimed Property Program advises people who receive letters about the forthcoming checks to wait for the checks to arrive, as filing a claim may delay processing by 6 to 7 months.

Questions about unclaimed funds can be directed by email here, or call (503) 986-5251.