In 2012, the TSA collected about $499,000 in U.S. currency and another $32,000 in foreign currency for a total of $531,395.22 in change left behind at US checkpoints. From the Washington Post:
Federal law requires the TSA to report the amount of unclaimed money they keep every year to Congress. TSA outposts at hub airports, such as John F. Kennedy International in New York or Dallas-Fort Worth International in Texas, collect cash from smaller regional airports, then forward it to TSA headquarters in Arlington. Passengers entering Miami International Airport left the largest amount of change at security last year, $39,613, while people leaving Las Vegas — perhaps flush with slot machine winnings — forgot $26,900.21. Passengers left $8,207.21 behind at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, $5,247.56 at Reagan Washington National Airport and a whopping $16,536.92 at Washington Dulles International Airport, the report said. In total, TSA agents collected more than $10,000 in pocket change at each of 13 major airports across the country, in cities such as San Francisco, Phoenix, New York, Dallas and Atlanta.
Airports marked in blue collected between $10,000 and $14,999. Airports marked in red collected between $15,000 and $19,999. Airports in green collected more than $20,000 in lose change, according to the TSA’s report.)
Interestingly enough, last Tuesday the House passed H.R. 1095 which would require the TSA to fork that cash over to nonprofit organizations that provide travel-related assistance to military personnel or their families…but it will cost more than it brings in! Check out the full Washington Post article for full details.