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Debt Management

Supplemental Background and Summary Information on DCIA-Related Regulations


Within the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134) is the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. The legislation provides an excellent opportunity for the federal government to move toward its goal of increased electronic commerce and improved cash and debt collection management. It is our intent to expeditiously implement the law to fulfill the Congressional mandate.

The Act will enhance debt collection governmentwide, as well as mandate the use of electronic funds transfer (EFT) for federal payments, allow Federal Reserve Bank Treasury Check Offset, and provide funding for the Check Forgery Insurance Fund.

This law provides that any non-tax debt or claim owed to the United States that has been delinquent for a period of 180 days shall be turned over to the Secretary of the Treasury for appropriate action to collect or terminate collection actions on the debt or claim. Debt that is in litigation or foreclosure, with a collection agency or designated federal debt collection center, or that will be disposed of under an asset sales program, is exempt from transfer to the Secretary.

The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 has seven purposes:

  1. To maximize collections of delinquent debts owed to the government by ensuring quick action to enforce recovery of debts and the use of all appropriate collection tools.
  2. To minimize the costs of debt collection by consolidating related functions and activities and utilizing interagency teams.
  3. To reduce losses arising from debt management activities by requiring proper screening of potential borrowers, aggressive of all accounts, and sharing of information within and among federal agencies.
  4. To ensure that the public is fully informed of the federal government's debt collection policies and that debtors are cognizant of their obligations to repay amounts owed to the federal government.
  5. To ensure that debtors have all appropriate due process rights, including the ability to verify, challenge, and compromise claims, and access to administrative appeals procedures which are both reasonable and protect the interests of the United States.
  6. To encourage agencies, when appropriate, to sell delinquent debt, particularly debts with underlying collateral.
  7. To rely on the experience and expertise of private sector professionals to provide debt collection services to federal agencies.

Following are the key provisions of the Act:

Laws, Regulations & Guidance Related to Debt Management Programs and Initiatives

Regulations Issued by Treasury, Justice

31 CFR Parts 900-904 Federal Claims Collection Standards

SUMMARY: The final rule revises the Federal Claims Collection Standards issued by the Department of Justice and the General Accounting Office on March 9, 1984. The revised Federal Claims Collection Standards clarify and simplify federal debt collection procedures and reflect changes under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 and the General Accounting Office Act of 1996.

| Federal Claims Collection Standards;
Federal Claims Collection Standards, Removal of Obsolete Chapter; Final Rules

Fiscal Service and the Department of Justice have compiled a comparison of the obsolete FCCS to the proposed and final rule, which summarizes the changes. Readers, however, should review the actual text of the proposed and final rules for a complete understanding of the changes.

Comparison of Obsolete, Proposed and Final FCCS

SUMMARY: This document proposes to revise the Federal Claims Collection Standards issued by the Department of Justice and the General Accounting Office on March 9, 1984. The proposed revisions clarify and simplify federal debt collection standards contained in the Federal Claims Collection Standards and reflect changes to federal debt collection procedures under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 and the General Accounting Office Act of 1996. Comments were due by March 2, 1998.

| Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Regulations Issued by OPM

5 CFR Part 550 Pay Administration (General); Collection by Offset From Indebted Government Employees

SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Management is issuing a final rule to make changes in the salary offset regulations to comply with the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. The principal changes relate to the roles played by disbursing officials and debt collection centers with respect to salary offset. Also included are new expedited salary offset procedures for certain types of recent or small-amount debts. The effective date is February 1, 1999.

| Final Rule
| Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

GAO Reports

| HEHS-95-24 Child Support Enforcement: Families Could Benefit From Stronger Enforcement Program (December 1994)

| GAO/HEHS-97-4 Child-Support Enforcement: Early Results on Comparability of Privatized and Public Offices (December 1996)

| HEHS-97-11 Child Support Enforcement: States' Experience With Private Agencies' Collection of Support Payments (October 1996)

| HEHS/GGD-97-14 Child-Support Enforcement: Reorienting Management Toward Achieving Better Program Results (October 1996)

| GAO/AIMD-97-48 Debt Collection: Improved Reporting Needed on Billions of Dollars in Delinquent Debt and Agency Collection Performance (June 1997)

| AIMD-97-72 Child Support Enforcement: Strong Leadership Required to Maximize Benefits of Automated Systems (June 1997)

AIMD-98-195 Debt Collection Improvement Act: Significant Challenges Remain to Effectively Implement Treasury's Administrative Offset Program (June 1998)

Other GAO reports can be accessed through the GAO website.

OMB Circular A-129

Last modified 08/17/23