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Statutory Debt Collection Authorities:
Memorandum from the Secretary of the Treasury


January 22, 2002

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARIES OF ALL DEPARTMENTS
AND THE HEADS OF ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES

FROM:   Paul H. O'Neill

SUBJECT:   Compliance with the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996

   The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA) was enacted to improve the collection of delinquent debts owed to the Federal government. The DCIA requires departments and agencies to refer eligible debts more than 180 days delinquent to the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) for collection action. Since the enactment of the DCIA, over $12 billion in delinquent debt has been collected through the use of a variety of collection tools, with $3.2 billion collected in FY 2001. Federal agencies have referred to Treasury approximately 81% of the delinquent debts that are eligible for referral. These are tremendous accomplishments, and we greatly appreciate your cooperation in this effort. Federal agencies and private collection agencies have been, and continue to be, important partners in this successful effort.

   While we have made great progress in implementing the provisions of the DCIA, agencies must continue their efforts to refer all eligible debts to Treasury to ensure our future success in collecting delinquent debts owed to the Federal government and delinquent child support debts. Specifically, I am asking you to refocus your agency's efforts on referring eligible delinquent debts to Treasury as soon as those debts become 180 days delinquent. Timely referral of delinquent debts is not only a DCIA requirement, but also should result in increased collections. Treasury, in turn, will continue to ensure the efficient use of a variety of collection tools, and work with agencies to better meet their needs.

   Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS) strives to maintain a debt collection program that is efficient, flexible, durable, meets the needs of our customers and partners, and maximizes collections. Through FMS, a broad spectrum of assistance is available to your agency to improve collection efforts, remove impediments and ensure continued success in debt collection.

   Treasury remains strongly committed to collecting delinquent Federal and child support debts. With your continued dedication and support towards this effort, we can collectively meet the challenges ahead.



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