State law requires financial institutions, insurance companies, public agencies, and businesses to turn over unclaimed property to the State if there has been no contact with the owners for a prescribed period of time. "Unclaimed property" can be funds from bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, bonds, and contents of safe deposit boxes whose rightful owners cannot be contacted.
The North Carolina Department of the State Treasurer holds this unclaimed property in the form of cash. CSS can claim these funds belonging to a noncustodial parent (NCP) who owes child support by filing a claim with the NC State Treasurer.
Previously, a project to attach a lien to the unclaimed property was conducted by agreement between the NC State Treasurer and NC CSS, but this project is no longer available. However, liens that were established through this project are still valid until discharged. For more information on this project and the management of liens that were created through it, see Unclaimed Property Liens Project.
A listing of unclaimed property that is held by the NC State Treasurer is available on this public website: "http://www.nccash.com". This website shows unclaimed properties in the amount of $50.00 or more.
If a search of this website indicates the possibility that unclaimed funds might belong to a delinquent noncustodial parent (NCP), CSS can file a claim to have the funds paid toward that NCP's child support debt. CSS can submit a claim on held property up to the total amount of the NCP's arrearages, as long as the NCP is the sole owner of the property.
By agreement between NC CSS and the NC State Treasurer's Unclaimed Property Program (UPP), CSS can request information in addition to the listed property and property owner information that is shown on the website. Agency contact persons, who are designated by supervisors in each local CSS office, can communicate with UPP by email. All communication regarding unclaimed property must include the Claim # and Property ID # of the property in question.
Once a claim is submitted to the UPP, the property listing is removed from the website on the Monday following the date of submittal. If not paid to an owner, the property listing appears again in approximately three (3) months.
When UPP receives the claim, it reviews the provided documentation to confirm whether CSS has adequately verified that the NCP is the property owner. After completing the review, UPP sends an email to notify the local CSS contact person of whether or not the claim is accepted. If accepted, the total amount of available funds is stated in the email. This amount could be larger than the amount that was initially stated, if additional funds belonging to the NCP have been identified. If the claim is rejected, the reason is stated in the email.
Once the UPP has notified CSS that a claim has been approved, a court order is required to apply the funds to a child support debt. The responsible CSS caseworker must generate and file a "Motion To Order Holder To Apply Debtor's Funds To Judgment" and an "Order Directing Holder To Apply Debtor's Funds To Judgment" document, requesting that the court enter an order directing UPP to apply the debtor/ NCP's funds to the child support debt.
A special liens project was conducted in 2004 by agreement between the NC State Treasurer and NC CSS. It matched the names of individuals who owned unclaimed property that was held by the NC State Treasurer with the names of individuals who owed past due child support. This agreement allowed CSS to file a lien against the unclaimed property and apply the funds to the child support debt.
This one-time project has ended; however, liens that were established through this project must be maintained until satisfied or otherwise ended. A brief description of the project procedures and the requirements for continued management of the liens that were created by the project follow.
For a case to have been eligible for the lien, it must have met the following criteria:
When a match is made, a NC CSS Unclaimed Property worker reviewed the case and determined if an administrative lien has been filed with the Clerk of Court. If a lien exists in the case, any amount remaining unsatisfied on the lien can be collected.
If the NCP agreed to allow the funds to be applied to the child support debt or failed to take action to contest the lien within thirty (30) days of the filing of the lien, CSS executed on the lien to obtain the funds.
After funds were received and applied to the case account, Unclaimed Property workers documented the payment. If unclaimed property funds were not sufficient to satisfy the entire lien amount, the lien remains in effect.
Even though the Unclaimed Property Liens Project has ended, the responsible CSS caseworker must still maintain the lien until it is either satisfied or dismissed.
If the local responsible caseworker wants to attach other of the NCP's properties to satisfy the remaining arrearages, no additional service of process on the NCP is needed. Only notifying the Clerk of Court to execute on the lien is required.
If it is determined that CSS will not take further action toward satisfaction of a lien, the lien must be dismissed. This action can be taken at any time during the life of the case; however, action must be taken before the case is closed.
To take any of these actions, CSS caseworkers must follow the procedures for execution, modification, and discharging of an administrative lien.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.