Nearly 73,000 people successfully recouped money from Connecticut’s unclaimed property program during the 2023 fiscal year as the state shattered its record for returning uncashed checks, misplaced refunds and forgotten insurance policies to their rightful owners.

Connecticut Treasurer Erick Russell, who oversees the millions of dollars in unclaimed property that the state sweeps up every year, said his office was able to reunite a record number of people with their money due to his staff automatically mailing checks for the first time in the program’s history.

“I’m very happy with the progress that we’ve made so far this year to modernize the unclaimed property system and streamline the processing of claims,” Russell said. “It’s been a ton of work for our team but well worth it.”

The 72,981 people who recovered their money over the past fiscal year is a huge improvement for the program, which traditionally required individuals to locate their missing assets on a state website, known as the CT Big List, and to file a formal claim with the treasurer’s office.

During each of the previous 23 years, that process resulted in fewer than 16,000 people on average successfully retrieving their money from the state.

As a result of CT Mirror reporting from early 2022, state officials sought to reform parts of the program in order to make it easier for people to identify and recover the money that belongs to them.

Shawn Wooden, who served as treasurer through 2022, dropped the requirement that every claim submitted to the state be notarized, and state legislators changed the law to require every piece of unclaimed property to be added to the CT Big List, no matter what the value of those assets are.

The Legislature also gave the Treasurer's office the authority to automatically return any assets valued below $2,500 — if the state could confirm the identity and addresses of the rightful owners.

Read more: CT sending 'unclaimed' money back to record numbers of residents