Where to Find Free Money

State treasuries are holding nearly $33 billion in unclaimed assets. Some of it could be yours.

Last fall, Michelle Bixler received a letter from the state of Pennsylvania saying it had a $35,000 check for her from an insurance company. She thought it was a scam. It had been nearly nine years since an on-the-job injury left her unable to work. The insurer that was processing her worker’s-compensation claim had gone belly up, so she assumed she’d never collect anything.

Before her accident, Bixler had worked for a Philadelphia tour company driving a horse-drawn carriage. One day, her horse reared and took off. She injured her back and had to undergo two surgeries. Afterward, her only source of income was meager disability benefits, forcing her to move in with friends. She learned, as she puts it, “to stretch each nickel to a dollar.”

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Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance