Q: How do savings bonds work?
A: The Treasury has issued different savings bond series over the years and they are all slightly different. But the basic series "EE" savings bond listed in the Treasury Hunt search system worked like this:
1. You purchased the bond for half its face value. So, for example, a $50 bond cost $25.
2. That EE bond was guaranteed to grow to its face value after 20 years. So, a $50 savings bond purchased for $25 would have grown to $50.
3. The EE bond would then continue earning interest for another 10 years.
4. After 30 years, the EE bond was completely matured and no longer earned any more interest. For this reason, it's best to cash it in, or reinvest it, so that your money is once again working for you.
Q: I bought savings bonds years ago, but never received them in the mail. How do I claim my money?
A: The Treasury Department refers to these as "undeliverable" bonds. Once again, the answer is to request a hand search. You can do that by filling out a request form or by calling 1-800-553-2663.
Q: I own savings bonds and have records of the dates and types. How do I know if they have stopped earning interest?
A: Below are charts from the Treasury Department's website that will show you. Still unsure? Try Treasury's "Bond Wizard."
The following savings bonds no longer earn interest:
Series E, all issues
Series EE, issued January 1980 through June 1981
Series H, all issues
Series HH, issued January 1980 through June 1991
Savings Notes, all issues
A, B, C, D, F, G, J, K, all issues
Here's how long the following savings bonds earn interest:
Series E, issued May 1941 to November 1965, earn interest for 40 years
Series E, issued December 1965 to June 1980, earn interest for 30 years
Series EE, all issues, earn interest for 30 years
Series H, issued June 1952 to January 1957, earn interest for 29 years, 8 months
Series H, issued February 1957 to December 1979, earn interest for 30 years
Series HH, all issues, earn interest for 20 years
Series I, all issues, earn interest for 30 years
Savings Notes, all issues, earn interest for 30 years