If you have been checking coat pockets or under sofa cushions for spare change, you know that every cent counts these days.

If you have been checking coat pockets or under sofa cushions for spare change, you know that every cent counts these days.

Yet a big chunk of change is sitting at government agencies just waiting to be claimed. This includes $16.5 billion in matured savings bonds as well as millions of dollars in forgotten bank accounts, insurance proceeds and safe-deposit boxes. So, if you've finished rifling through closets and old purses, here are other sources to look for cash:

About 41 million U.S. saving bonds have matured and no longer earn interest. Most of these are Series E and H bonds going back as far as 1941.

Bonds mature in 30 or 40 years, depending on the series. So that bond your grandparent bought you at birth might have matured by now.

And it could be worth a pretty penny. A $25 bond sold in the 1940s could be worth 10 times its face value today, said Stephen Meyerhardt, a public affairs officer with the Bureau of Public Debt.

Some people don't redeem old bonds because they lose them or forget they ever owned one. Others hold onto bonds as a keepsake, Meyerhardt said. And beautifully engraved bonds of the 1940s, which the military gave out to reward performance, often wind up framed rather than redeemed, he said.

But often, people don't cash in bonds because they don't want to pay federal income tax on the interest earned. This is tax aversion that hurts you. By not redeeming a bond, you don't get the income or the return of principal.

A matured bond in your name can be cashed in at your bank.

To find out if you have a matured bond issued in 1974 or later, use the Treasury Hunt database at www.treasurydirect.gov. This also reveals if your missing bond is one of the 15,000 bonds that are returned annually to the Treasury as undeliverable.

For older bonds that you don't have in hand but have detailed information about, you can start the redemption process by filling out a claim for lost, stolen or destroyed U.S. Saving Bonds (Form 1048). It's available online at TreasuryDirect or at local financial institutions.

If your recall about a bond is vague, the Bureau of Public Debt will try to trace it for you. Write to the bureau at Box 7012, Parkersburg, W.Va., 26106-7012. Include as much information as you know about the bond, such as the denomination, when it was issued and the name and address of the owner.

The Treasury Department also keeps a list of unclaimed money held by federal agencies.

The largest pot of money, as of the end of September, belonged to the judiciary branch, with $168 million in unclaimed cash. Much of that is restitution paid by offenders to victims who can't be located, said Dick Carelli, a federal courts spokesman. It also includes dividend income belonging to bankruptcy creditors that can't be located.

Usually, the court holds the money for five years and then turns it over to the judiciary's unclaimed fund, Carelli said. If you are owed money, you can make a claim. You must go back to the original court and obtain a court order.

You have three years to claim your tax refund before the money goes back into the Treasury's coffers. So if you never received your 2005 refund because you didn't file a tax return for that year, you have until April 15 this year to do so.

The Internal Revenue Service doesn't have figures yet on the amount of unclaimed refunds for 2005. But if past years are any indication, about 1 million taxpayers have left $1 billion to $2 billion on the table.

Obtain back tax forms and publications at www.irs.gov or by calling the IRS at 800-829-3676.