FRANKFORT, Ky. – As State Treasurer, Allison Ball spends much of her time trying to get nearly $500 million of unclaimed money and property back into rightful hands.
That’s the worth of unclaimed property being held at the State Treasury.
“Safety deposit boxes, insurance proceeds, stocks, dormant bank accounts, things like that, go to me as custodian of the property,” Ball said. “I try and locate the individuals and get it back to them.”
The items are held in a vault in her office until claimed, some dating back to the 1940s. Last year she returned $25 million in unclaimed property to the rightful owners.
“It’s a wonderful thing for a conservative to be in charge of, as I’m a great believer in property rights, and I want to have people’s property returned to them,” she said.
Go to this website to see if you have unclaimed property held by the Treasurer’s office: http://treasury.ky.gov/unclaimedproperty/Pages/Unclaimed-Property-Search.aspx
In December, Ball unveiled her new STABLE program, where disabled Kentuckians or their families can open an account, allowing them to put money into savings without jeopardizing Supplemental Social Security, Medicaid and other federal benefits.
The program, is the result of legislation enacted this year, providing a state version of the Achieving Better Life Experience Act passed by Congress in 2014. “For too long, many individuals in Kentucky with disabilities have been denied the opportunity to save and invest. With the launch of STABLE Kentucky, that has all changed.”
Money invested in a STABLE account, as well as the earnings, are not subject to federal income tax, so long as it is spent on qualified disability expenses. It also means those with disabilities are no longer limited to $2,000 in savings, without losing benefits.
Ball said there has been great reaction to the program in the one month since its inception.
“People in the disability community have wanted something like this for a long time,” she said. “So we’re getting a lot of gratitude and hope for the future on how this is going to help them.”
Her legislative agenda for 2017 includes pension and tax reform, as well as expanding transparency of government spending, beyond what the General Assembly passed in January.
Ball said the pension and tax reform issues will likely have to be addressed in a special legislative session, as lawmakers only have 25 work days remaining in the current session.
“These are major issues that need to be taken seriously, and I think it’s a smart idea to focus just on those issues.”