People across metro having hard time claiming money that is theirs from the state

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News viewers are reaching out after watching Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray’s investigation into Georgia’s unclaimed property website.

“I was thinking, this is me,” Conyers resident Nancy Kelley said.

Kelley held onto a box of her late mother’s paperwork for more than a decade. That came in handy when she found unclaimed money on the Georgia site. She provided documents including her mother’s death certificate and social security card, but the $730 claim was rejected.

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“So, I just figured, well, I guess they’re going to keep the money hostage,” Kelley said.

Dixie Burkhalter felt the same way when she saw our story.

“I know it’s not a big amount of money, but it’s the principle. If it’s my money, then I should get my money,” Burkhalter said.

Burkhalter was told that in order to claim the $263 she found, she’d have to show proof of address from four decades ago.

“Forty-two years ago, I lived in an apartment in another town. Never used that address. Never got any mail there. Nothing,” she said.


In a Channel 2 Action News investigation, Gray showed you how after he started asking questions, Georgia changed its unclaimed property website.

Where smaller claim amounts used to be hidden, now claims under $50 are searchable.

But we also showed how Georgians like Dale Benerofe have had trouble collecting unclaimed property they found on the website: $23,000 in Benerofe’s case.

“It’s stressful. It weighs on me,” Benerofe said.

Georgia’s revenue commissioner Frank O’Connell says most claims pay quickly and easily, but some are more complicated, particularly with estates.

“If there’s several children of a deceased father or mother, they could all tell us that they’re entitled to the money. So, we would like to see something that shows that you’re the one that’s designated to handle the estate,” O’Connell said.

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