Does the U.S. Government Owe You Money?

250px-New100frontWould it surprise you to know that the U.S. government has $18 billion that rightfully (legitimately; according to the rules) belongs to Americans? It’s true.

The U.S. government has a substantial (very much; very high) amount of unclaimed (not asked for; not collected by the owner) cash.

The first category of money that belongs to Americans is money that people have paid or lent (given as a loan) to the government but have failed to (not) ask to get back. This includes savings bonds and tax refunds.

Savings bonds are a type of investment sold by the government when it needs money to pay its debt (money owed to someone else). People buy these securities (investments) in different denominations (amounts of money), from as low as $25 to as high as $10,000. After (at least) six months, these bonds can be cashed in (traded for money) to get the original investment back plus a little extra in interest (a percentage of the money loaned). These bonds are considered very safe investments because they are backed by (supported by) the government. But some people buy savings bonds and then never cash them in! That’s a large part of the money the government owes Americans.

A tax refund is money that you’ve paid the government through your job, but because you’ve either (a) paid too much to the government in taxes, (b) made very little money that year, and/or (c) had special circumstances (called deductions) that allow you to not pay as much in taxes, you should get back from the government after you file your taxes (officially submit your tax documents, usually by April 15th of each year). But, again, some people never ask for their tax refund, and that’s also part of the money the government has that belongs to Americans.

Another large sum (amount) of money is related to lawsuits, where you take a dispute (argument) to court and let the court decide who is right. In the U.S., there are many class-action lawsuits, which are cases where a company is sued (asked to pay money) on behalf of (for) an entire group of people whom the company has wronged (treated unfairly), such as customers who bought a bad product or a group of people hurt by a company’s action. Oftentimes (frequently), the money that is awarded (given to) to the group of people suing is in a lump sum (one large amount), which should then be divided among (split and given to) the people in the group. Usually, the amount each individual is supposed to receive is very small, such as $2 or $5. Some people don’t even know they have been included in (are part of the group for the) class-action lawsuits and never claim their money. Others don’t bother claiming such a small amount. All that money remains with the courts (that is, the government) until it is claimed.

If you think the government owes you money, there are websites that can help you get your money back, such as this one and this one. If you get any money back, I will only claim half.

– Jeff

Photo Credit:  New100front from Wikipedia

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34 Responses to Does the U.S. Government Owe You Money?

  1. Dan says:

    Hello everyone.

    Looking at the article 90% of the total amount is savings bonds.

    I do not understand how it is possible that some folks do not cash in the money. Probably the majority are old people
    without a bank account that die and their family members do not even know about it.

    I do have some Italians bonds and they pay every six months directly in my bank account.
    That is why it is hard to believe that.

    Anyway, interesting new terms like lump sum.


  2. Tania says:

    Hi! I think I know why the Vienna Philharmonie was decorated mainly with roses for the New Year concert this year.
    We celebrate 150 years from the Richard Strauss’ birth (1864 – 1949).
    As a leading German composer, R. Strauss wrote opera “Der Rosenkavalier”.
    And I think R. Strauss is “the knight of the rose” in the classic musical field.

  3. Tania says:

    Hi! And in 2014 we commemorate one hundred years from the War World I (1914 – 2014).
    Thanks to you, Jeff, now when I say WWI I remember of “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot.
    And when I say T.S.Eliot, I remember of his “The Four Quartets”with his “the rose-garden”
    with the rose of perfection.
    Maybe Vienna is “the rose-garden” in the classic music.

    True or not, I like to make such kind of links.

  4. Tania says:

    Hi! Even ESLPodcast 961, Learning to dance , remembers me of T.S.Eliot.

    “…Except for the point, the still point
    There would be no dance,
    and there is only the dance.”

    T.S.Eliot, The Four Quartets

    With this occasion I have read a part of T.S.Eliot’s works again.
    I don’t want to forget the works of such a great American writer.

  5. Tania says:

    Hi! A confussion to me : the Presidential Libraries and the Library of the U.S.A. Congress.
    Listening to the English Cafe 432, now it is very clear to me.
    Thank you, dear Jeff.

  6. Tania says:

    Hi! Just a joke!
    I have found a new Geronimo on the Minimax Channel (cartoons).
    It’s about Geronimo Stilton’s adventures, a little mouse.

  7. Tania says:

    Hi! Very difficult for me…
    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow…where hollow means valley.
    The Hollow Man by T.S.Eliot… where hollow means false, insincer, without value.
    Hollow Man, a movie with Kevin Bacon, translated as The Invisible Man.

  8. Alex says:

    Tania, I see you just have been burst with posts here but topic was not about of philarmonias or libraries but finaces only 😉 / with my regard to Drs. Lucy, Jeff and their collegues.

  9. emiliano says:

    Dear Alex, usualy all of us post which ever thing we like to, it doesn´t matter if the topic is other different subject
    than our posts, in fact writing about other subjects make this blog free and fluently.

    You can do just the same, writhe about the subject you like, in the way of the topic or not. It doesn´t matter.

    Our friend Tania like to talk about different but quite interesting things or subjects, and it is a pleasure to read
    her always.

    Don´t be confused about the goal of the ESL blog, the goal it is just to write in English and to learn who to do it.

    Your are welcome to do it, or to have your own opinión like this one you have, it is a free open blog but I like
    to remark this circunstance to you de Alex.

    I hope you could understand Tania, me and the others, that are usually talking about everything it is in our

    My best dear Alex.


  10. emiliano says:

    mistake……sorry Alex

    …write in English and to learn how to do it…..(just that is the subject)

    Thank you

  11. Tania says:

    Hi! Dear Alex, first of all thank you for you have remarked my posts.
    Yes, I am always a rebel even in my personal life.
    Maybe this is one of the reasons for which I always have problems.
    We have everyone our own culture depending on our own country.
    Together with ESLPodcast team we discover new things with every new lesson.
    Together with Jeff , I have discovered many famous American writers.
    Together with Jeff, I have discovered T.S.Eliot.
    And from time to time I like to write about what we have learned, just to remember.

    Best wishes,


  12. Tania says:

    Hi! Like Emiliano said, we have the chance to post in a free open blog with blog friends from many, many countries.
    And with the best teachers…
    We all should post our thoughts, our opinions in our blog.
    Sometimes, just a line it could be enough.



  13. Myo ko ko says:

    So Jeff
    According to what you said above, that $18 billions seem to remain unclaimed.
    How about you all at the ESL Podcast Team and we ESL learners here altogether file a request to Obama as follows;

    Dear President Obama,

    We are informed by the press that a pretty awesome amount of $18 billion is being left unclaimed in your hand by the U.S. citizens. And we also do know that nearly all people concerned don’t willingly want to bother filing claims to get the cash back due to several different reasons. We have also learned from our nationwide-known high-profile lobbyists that holding such colossal amount of cash in one’s hand that doesn’t legally belong to oneself is illegal and can impose a potential danger of lawsuits on one by the people concerned. (It seems that you’re at very high risk of being sued for the illegitimate cash you hold in your hand!)

    Honestly speaking, as ones who love and admire our President, we don’t really want our beloved figure to get involved unnoticed in such kind of shameful and scandalous affair. With due respect, we ESL family here are very keen to help get you out of this potential danger. After hours of meetings and workshops here at the ESL Podcast deperament, we managed to have come up with a feasible solution that can surely pave a way for you to get out of this difficult situation. For your good sake, we advise you follow our every clause “strictly” and give no ifs and buts.

    The best and feasible solution we found out is that you announce to the public that you’re donating all of this $18 billion as funds to the ESL Podcast Team. And be sure you stress in your announcement that what a great job our ESL Podcast Team is doing and how helpful ours is to the ESL learners worldwide. That will bring the understanding amongst the public why you donate all of the cash to our Team and you’ll find this donation as a way for you to be out of the potential lawsuit.

    We hope we can save you!

    Sincerely Yours,
    ESL Podcast Team
    The Center for Educational Development

    Just joking. 😉
    And thank you very much Jeff for the financial words and for the post.

    Myo ko ko

  14. Dan says:

    Am I the only saver here?

  15. Tania says:

    Hi! I like Carrie Nation, one of the most influential woman fighting against alcohol.
    We do not have a temperance movement in my country, but on TV screen we can see everyday a text:
    Don’t drink alcohol too much.
    Don’t smoke.
    They are very dangerous.
    They can kill you.

    Yes, alcohol destroys family.
    Many men under the alcohol influence kill their wives.

  16. Tania says:

    Hi! I admire Carrie Nation for her courage fighting with men.

    A Carrie Nation quote:

    “I felt invincible. My strength was that of a giant.
    God was certainly standing by me.”

  17. Tania says:

    Hi! A classical poem about drinking:

    Alone And Drinking Under The Moon
    by LiPo (1140 – 1210), a famous Chinese poet

    “Amongst the flowers I
    am alone with my pot of wine
    drinking by my self; then lifting
    my cup I asked the moon
    to drink with me
    then I sigh
    for the moon cannot drink,
    and my shadow goes emptily along
    with me never saying a word.”

  18. parviz says:

    Hi Tania
    I looked very much to find you a proper identifier that may suit you the best.
    Here on I shall call you “podcast warrior”.
    Hope you live with that.

  19. Dan says:

    Good job Myo!,

    Now, jokes apart, I am really convinced they should get some money from the government. Why?

    That is simple, and I quote Malala Yousafzai the girl shot by the Talibans:

    “Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons.”

    I think the US government should spend less on Military and more in spreading/exporting Education like Jeff and Lucy are doing.


  20. Myo ko ko says:

    Thanks Dan.
    You got the point overnight.
    By that, now I happen to trust in your words that you’re not a bonehead! 😛
    Correct me if I’m wrong! 😉

    Myo ko ko

  21. Tania says:

    Hi! Talking about “The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow”, I remember that when I was a child I saw a book named “The Headless Horseman”.
    I keep in my mind this title and I don’t know why. I have not read it.
    According to the Wikipedia, “The Headless Horseman” is a novel written in 1865 by Mayne Reid based on a south Texas folk tale.
    It is a story about an Irish adventurer and hero in the war with Mexico.

  22. Tania says:

    Hi! I have seen the movie “The Manchurian Candidate”. You told us about it in English Cafe 393.
    But I have seen the second film on TV, released in 2004, with Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep.
    The Communist conspiracy from the first film (1962) is updated with the Persian Gulf War in 1991. It is with many science fiction aspects.

    “The Manchurian Candidate”, written in 1959 by Richard Condon, is a political thriller novel.
    I have not read it.

  23. Tania says:

    Hi! As I told you I like “My Fair Lady” very much.
    May I practice my English with some quotes?

    Higgins: “Very well, let her go, I can do without her.
    I can do without anyone. I have my own soul.
    My own spark of divine fire!”

  24. Tania says:


    “I shall not feel alone without you, I can stand on my own without you. So go back in your shell…”

    “I don’t care how you treat me.”

    “But I can get along without you.
    Don’t you think I can’t!”

  25. Tania says:


    “You’ve never wondered … whether I could get along without you.”

  26. Tania says:


    I like our blog, our teachers, and all our blog friends with their warm voice,

    “Warm face, warm hands, warm feet
    Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?”

  27. Tania says:


    Dear Parviz, you are very kind with me.
    As every day can be a challenge to me I have to brave it saying:
    “But I can get along. Don’t you think I can’t!”

    Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?

  28. lilian says:

    Hi dear Emiliano
    I missed you so much .you know I didn’t have any ideas for this topic so I decided not to write but when I read your post I get encourage to write ,it was not the first time you did that ,the first time I decided to just write something and don’t be afraid of my bad english was after reading your post which said just to all the teams and encouraged us to just try to write ,no matter what you write or how much mistake you have got just try to write even a sentence ,you know it helped me too much.thank you very much ,you see you worth even more than a million since you help us in every way.i am still waiting for the rest of your beautiful story.
    thanks a lot. Lilian

  29. Betty says:

    “Does the U.S. Government Owe You Money?”

    No, Sir, Dear Dr McQuillan, I don’t think the U.S. Government owes me money. So I should not have to worry about claiming my share of the $18 billion.

    By the way, Myo Ko Ko I don’t think the US government can donate all the $18 billion to

    We as learners must subscribe memberships to keep this English learning website going.

    Dear Myo Ko Ko

    Thank you for your hearty letter. Your English is so good. Where do learn your English?

    I would like to congratulate you and your teachers for the good use of English as shown in your letter.

    I fully understand and agree with you that I should ask my congressmen to listen to Jeff and Lucy’s podcast, to read all the articles and blogpost to help themselves to a happier and healthier life.

    It is not my intention to decline your proposal, but it is my duty to safeguard the $18 billion in the treasury.

    The money being in the account will pay many years’ salaries to many accountants and other clerical staff. It also makes my citizens feel rich.

    When I was a little kid my teachers had to teach until they cough blood, we as little children did not have a chance to listen to sweet and soft voices like Jeff and Lucy. Not to mention the beautiful articles from Warren, Lucy and Jeff.

    Please Dear Myo Ko Ko since you are so kind and have written to me, I would give you my two cents.

    As a responsible governor, I can’t even suggest to my congressmen to donate any money to

    You and your fellow learners must subscribe memberships to keep this English learning website going. Jeff and Lucy must continue to work extremely hard to keep their students/learners/members/donors stay with them.

    Remember, one day, the $18 billion will all be used up, on whatever it is that I don’t understand. One day, all the teachers in will be too old to write scripts, articles and do podcasting. One day, all the current students will be too old to even turn on the devices to learn English.

    I won’t be able to find more money to keep in the treasury, but can continue to use the learning material to teach your children and grandchildren and many more generations.

    You must feel very rich Myo Ko Ko. I am very honoured to be exchanging letters with you.

    Look forward to hearing from you again soon.



    Just joking

    Thanks again and again.

    Betty 😉

  30. Dan says:

    Betty for President!

  31. Dan says:

    Myo’s English is good indeed.
    It is clear he’s fresh of studies, a student.
    That confirms my idea he’s in between 20 and 30 of age

  32. emiliano says:

    Good for you dear Lilian that get enough courage to write once and again in the bolg but even for that chap emiliano who has something
    to do about it.

    Thank you so much dear friend and write, write as much as possible because your imagination would be alert to write nearly about averthing
    in future.
    I think that the apt of reading or writing it is like water in the river, once the cold water flows in the mountains it runs without effort by it own
    just following its way down till the sea.

    Writing it is the same, you don´t need to think, your fingers tap by their own willing as you are reading the letters that appears on the screen.
    No previous idea, like me now, I don´t know what I am going to say just inmediately to this paragraph.

    Just do the same Lilian and you´ll see how easy it is.

    Now Yes, I have a idea of what I like to say you here.

    You know, Cuca is really a shy person and she doesn´t like too much that her story appears written, even more being her the protagonist. Itt is
    something very strong for her feelings, she always like to be invisible, but she just make the exception of her previous reluctant feeling as a favour
    to me, just because I asked her permission.
    Even now she is telling me it has to be a very boring story and she doesn´t understand how other people could be interested about our early life.
    As she can´t read in English she didn´t know how I am treating her, that´s good, ja,ja, so I said her “you are treated very well dear”.

    She said yes, it is a proof o love to you, but write it in English as I don´t like to be read by friends here in Spain, as English it is hard for friends
    that could be safe for me.

    So now I doubt about the task and need to be high motivated to follow with the story here. Well I will see as I like to remember and to make
    you participate in it, but who knows may be My dear couple it is right?. Boring? Who knows, to me it is not, by for other?.

    Your opinion and other should be nice to me dear Lilian.

    (You see, nothing was in my mind till today, till just now, and writing follows like the water in the river……by its own).

    My best dear and THANK YOU.


  33. lilian says:

    Dear Emiliano
    if Cuca doesn’t like her story to be displayed here so I think we should certainly respect her know I think your story was beautiful but there is one fact that made it seems great and that was your fluent and dexterous power of writing in English. You have this great talent to put all of your feeling into paper ,like a real novelist and that is the secret of your writings being unforgettable and fantastic. So please continue it at least for yourself and let it be eternal.
    Thank you very much.

  34. emiliano says:

    Thank you Lilian, I apreciate very much your opinión and at least for me, yes, I am going to continue my own versión of this nice story till the end.
    Having in mind it has a happy end, like in the movies, I think it could be a good nice story.

    Later, once I have more episodes I need to talk with the shy girl, Cuca, and I would try to have a YES, I DO once again from her, ja,ja, ….not only
    “do what you wish” that is what she have said till now., ja,ja, is her way of doing things.

    It is always the same, when she is not willing to say yes, she said….your wish, then I know it is not her real wish.

    Being married as you know Lilian life of a couple it is peculiar and we don´t say no, we say VALE, in Spanish, that in English could be all right but
    not O.K.

    In Spanish there are VALE and CONFORME
    In English there are RIGHT and O.K.
    May be there is a little difference when you are taling with a friend and so on.

    Here the Word VALE has different sounds……..vaaaale you are in not very willing, vale you are more or less willing, near to the say O.K., instead
    “conforme” / “de acuerdo” are afirmatives and means O.k., yes, I do.

    There is not ever a NO between us but when there is not a YES …..there is a do what you wish (that is not mine) and life goes on between the
    girl and the boy. If there is a NO things are quite different, just a problem, and it is not the point now, it is only my wish is not your wish, nothing

    Thank you Lilian, I would try to have a CONFORME from Cuca to be more calm and serene writing the full story.


    Dan, don´t worry about that, after all it doesn´t matter, there is not any secret or twisted subject about it.
    Thank you also dear friend.


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