- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Treasury Department soon will make it easier for people to claim and redeem savings bonds that have sat untouched for years, Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy announced Wednesday as he advanced one of his pet projects.

The online tool will help bondholders redeem an estimated $26 billion in unclaimed savings, according to Mr. Kennedy’s calculations, a vast sum he insists belongs in individual wallets rather than a federal account.

The unclaimed savings bonds have accumulated because of a number of factors, not least forgetfulness and possibly an inability to find the copy of the bond itself, according to Mr. Kennedy and others.

Mr. Kennedy proposed legislation in August that would give individuals greater access to Treasury Department records.

The new online portal will allow people to check Treasury records to see if they are owners of any savings bonds dated after 1974. States also will have access and should be able to boost redemptions through their unclaimed property offices, another of Mr. Kennedy’s favorite government entities.

“This money belongs in the hands of the American people,” Mr. Kennedy wrote in a press release. “It shouldn’t be under lock and key at Treasury. Grandmothers purchased these bonds for grandchildren. Great aunts and uncles bought bonds to support the war effort.”

Mr. Kennedy has attached $25 million in funds to digitize the bond records in the General Government Appropriations Act of 2020, which is pending in the Senate. Also awaiting action is his Unclaimed Savings Bond Act, which would allow state agencies to put the names and addresses for bonds Treasury holds into the unclaimed property databases.

The enhanced digital capabilities are designed to trace ownership of older bonds, such as World War II or other war bonds, sold long before personal computers existed, according to Mr. Kennedy’s office

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