What Is a Patriot Bond? And What Can You Do with It?

Written by Jennifer PachecoUpdated: 28th Oct 2021
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American lives changed the day that 9/11 happened, and in more ways than one. The terrorist attack shook the nation, but Congress and government officials took action to change several things in the weeks, months, and years after the events of September 11th.

One popular decision made was the authorization and implementation of the Patriot Bonds. Simply put, a Patriot Bond is a paper savings bond with branding on the front marked “Patriot Bond.”

These savings bonds were limited, only available for purchase from December 2001 to December 2011 – after that, such bonds were discontinued.

What Is a Patriot Bond?

Patriot Bonds are not all too complicated to define. They’re basically paper EE bonds that Americans could have purchased through a 10-year period to support the country’s anti-terrorism efforts after 9/11.

Money earned from the purchase of paper Patriot Bonds was automatically deposited into a specific fund dedicated to all anti-terrorism efforts.

How Do Patriot Bonds Work?

Patriot Bonds work exactly as any other standard EE paper savings bond does. Congress released these paper bonds to be purchased starting at $25, going to $10,000 each. Every bond was said to help Americans grow their money over time.

How did this money growth happen? Each bond had a fixed interest rate associated with it. Money would sit there and accrue all on its own.

Most purchases were primarily targeted towards saving for college funds and retirement activities. Gifts were often given in the form of a savings bond, too.

How to Cash a Patriot Bond

Cashing a patriot bond is a very easy process to follow. Just go to your local bank and exchange the bond for cash.

You may want to call your bank and check in on their specific rules. Naturally, paper bonds aren’t limited on how little or how much money you take from the bond when you go to the bank.

However, your bank may have their own rules and restrictions. Be sure that you have identity proof when cashing any savings bond.

If you cannot find a bank that is willing to cash your Patriots Bond, the following steps will have to be followed:

  1. Send in a signed FS Form 1522 to the U.S. Treasury
  2. Certify your signature
  3. Mail in the unsigned bonds with the form to the correct address

Can I cash a Patriot Bond Early?

Truthfully, there are no rules to when you can cash a Patriot Bond. No penalties. However, if you want to gain the most from your investment, you’ll choose carefully when to access the funds in your paper bonds.

The tricky part is that you need to know – by doing some research – when the timing is right. For example, any Patriot Bond purchased in 2003 or after will have double the value 20 years later.

The same is not the case for any date before June 2003; those bonds will double in value after 17 years.

Even still, if you have a lot of patience, I urge you to hold onto your Patriot Bonds as long as you can.

If you wait until the paper bonds are fully mature (30 years), the Series EE funds will continue to earn interest and make you more money in the end.

Before cashing in your Patriot Bond, it may also benefit you to know your specific bonds’ interest rate. Some are higher than others, and if you wait a few extra years, you’ll earn more money.

Just don’t be shy to ask questions about the purchases you’ve made and make your decision from there. Sometimes, it’s not wise to cash in your bonds early.

Are Patriot Bonds Still Issued?

Unfortunately, you cannot get your hands on a Patriot Bond any longer; Congress also will not be bringing these investment funds back in the future.

According to government officials, Patriot Bonds were discontinued in 2012, mainly because the Treasury decided to switch over all bonds to electronic means instead.

How Much Is My Patriot Bond Worth?

Every Patriot Bond purchased in the past is worth a different money value. To check your specific paper bonds, head on over to Treasury Direct and click on the calculator on the webpage.

You’ll enter the series, denomination, serial number, and the issue date and the calculator will handle the rest for you.

Once the calculations are made, the page will refresh, telling you the total price, value, interest earned, and final maturity amount.

The calculator can also help determine the bonds expected value by whatever year you specifically want to know. This can help you decide when the bond is worth cashing in.

Can Anyone Cash a Patriot Bond?

If the bond has been purchased or was issued to the person of interest, that person can cash the Patriot Bond.

The only person that can redeem the funds from the paper bond is the person with their name on the legal bond.

When you go to the bank or official treasury location to cash in the funds, you will need some type of valid identification to ensure it really is you accessing the funds.

Bottom Line: What Is a Patriot Bond?

Patriot Bonds may still exist today, but you won’t be able to purchase them. If you have one, two, a dozen, or a bunch at home, that’s great!

One day they’ll be worth a lot, 30 years from the day they were purchased. Why? Because they gain interest as the days pass us by.

The good thing about a Patriot Bond is that you can cash it in at any time if you need the money for some reason – with no penalties.

But the longer you hold onto them, the more they’ll be worth. Just be sure to check in with the treasury to see when you’ll get the most bang for your buck and take it from there.

Jennifer Pacheco

Jennifer Pacheco attended the University of Dartmouth, Massachusetts where she earned her degree in English Writing & Editorial Work. She is a seasoned personal finance writer with over 5 years of professional work under her belt, and supplies easy-to-read information that’s educational, engaging, and conversational to help you make the most of your money.