U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service  263 FW 1, General Policy, Responsibility and Definitions

FWM#:         222 (new)
Date:             October 12, 1995
Series:           Finance
Part 263:       Debt Recovery
Originating Office:  Division of Finance  
1.1 Purpose. This Part contains policy and procedures for the collection, compromise, suspension, and termination of collection action and referral to the Department of Justice and General Accounting Office (GAO) for litigation of debts due the Service for money or property.

1.2 Scope. While this Part applies to debtors in the non-Federal sector and employees of the Federal Government, it is expected that the debt collection program will facilitate recovery of amounts due from other Government agencies. Included in this part are the requirements for preparation and control of billings issued by Regional and Field Offices and prompt transmission of all monies collected to the Finance Center.

1.3 Authority. The policy and guidelines stated herein conform with 344 DM, Debt Collection; the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Public Law 97-365); the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966; revised OMB Circular A-129; and the Federal Debt Collection Procedures of 1990, 4 CFR Chapter 2. If the debtor is an employee of the Federal Government, and all other means of recovery have been exhausted, collection by salary offset is authorized by 5, U.S.C. 5514, 5 CFR 550. Section 5 of the Debt Collection Act expanded 5, U.S.C. 5514 by authorizing salary offset to collect "(any) debts which the United States is entitled to be repaid."

1.4 Definitions and Operational Terms.

A. Allowances. Allowances for employees include, but are not limited to, payments for quarters, uniforms, and overseas cost of living expenses, but exclude travel and transportation allowances and relocation expenses.

B. Alternate Collection Officer. A person that assumes the duties of a Collection Officer in the absence of the Collection Officer and has been designated by the Chief, Division of Finance or Regional Finance Officer.

C. Bill for Collection. The initial demand for payment issued on form DI-1040, Bill for Collection.

D. Collection by Administrative Offset. The withholding of money payable by the United States to or held on behalf of a person to satisfy a debt owed by that person. This does not apply when the debtor is a Federal, State or local government agency.

E. Collection Officer. A person designated by the Chief, Division of Finance or Regional Finance Officer to handle collections (cash, checks, money orders, credit cards).

F. Collection Transmittal. The transmittal of collections to the Finance Center for deposit. The Collection Transmittal Form, 3-2061 is used by all Regional and field locations. The only exception is the Regional Office Law Enforcement License and Inspection fees deposits.

G. Compromised Claim. An arrangement between the Government and a debtor for settling a claim when the Government cannot collect the full amount of the debt.

H. Debt. An amount owed to the United States and all other amounts due from fees, leases, rents, royalties, services, sales of real or personal property, overpayments, fines, penalties, damages, interest, forfeitures, etc. Under certain conditions, an employee debt does not include intra-agency overpayments.

I. Delinquent Debt. A debt which has not been paid by the date specified in the creditor's initial written notification, unless satisfactory payment arrangements have been made by that date, or if, at any time thereafter, the debtor fails to satisfy their obligations under a payment agreement with the creditor agency. When a Bill for Collection is over 30 days old and no acceptable repayment plan has been established, a delinquent debt exists.

J. Disposable Pay. Pay remaining after the amount required by law to be withheld.

K. Federal Depository. A banking institution so designated by the Department of the Treasury to accept governmental deposits.

L. Pay. Pay means salary, wages, compensation, emoluments, and remuneration for services. It includes, but is not limited to, overtime pay; night, Sunday standby, irregular and hazardous duty differential; pay for Sunday and holiday work; payments for accumulated and accrued leave; and severance pay. It does not include travel and transportation expenses and allowances and relocation allowances.

M. Promissory Note. A written promise to pay a specified sum of money, at a fixed time or on demand.

N. Reimbursable Agreement. An agreement between the Service and another entity where the Service provides a service or product and is reimbursed its cost plus overhead costs.

O. Salary Offset. The collection of a debt by the United States through installment deductions from the current pay account of an employee.

P. Surety. Individual who has become legally liable for the debt, default, or failure in duty for another individual.

Q. Suspension of Collection Action. A temporary halt in collection efforts because a debtor cannot be located. There must be reason to believe future collection action may be sufficiently productive to justify periodic review and action.

R. Termination of Collection Action. An end to all collection efforts and closure of the file on a claim.

S. Unsecured Debt. Any debt for which an enforceable document such as a contract, agreement, or promissory note is not available.

T. Waiver. The cancellation, remission or forgiveness of a debt allegedly owed by an employee as a result of an erroneous payment of pay and allowances other than travel and transportation expenses and allowances and relocation expenses.

1.5 Responsibilities.

A. Director. The Director provides for the effective management of the Servicewide debt collection program.

B. Regional Directors ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter within their Regions.

C. Assistant Director - Policy, Budget and Administration (APBA) directs the Servicewide collection program and provides for needed improvement and changes in the program. The APBA approves/denies requests for administrative waiver.

D. Chief, Division of Finance. The Chief, Division of Finance is responsible for the daily operation of the Service debt collection program. The Chief oversees the Finance Center operations and ensures that the Finance Center carries out the duties of the Service's debt collection in accordance with Departmental and Treasury mandates.

E. Service's Finance Center serves as final collection point for all Service debt collection; ensures billings are entered into the Federal Financial System as Account Receivables; performs all follow-up on uncollected billings; and, determines and executes alternatives necessary to collect delinquent debts.

F. Assistant Regional Directors - Budget and Administration are authorized to issue bills for collection for contractor defaults, employee indebtedness and other miscellaneous indebtedness arising at the Regional Office level. Copies of bills issued are sent to the Finance Center for recording into the accounting system.

G. Field Offices issue bills for collection for special use permits, cooperative farming agreements, quarters rental not collected through payroll deductions, and other indebtedness arising at the field office level (except employee indebtedness). Field offices send copies of bills issued to the Finance Center for recording into the accounting system.

1.6 Debt Management Standards.

A. Demand for Payment. Written notice of indebtedness and demand for payment must be issued in a timely and aggressive manner.

B. Accrual Basis of Accounting. Receivables must be recorded accurately and promptly upon completion of acts which entitle an agency to collect amounts owed to it. Accounting records for receivables must be maintained so that all transactions affecting the receivables for each reporting period are included.

C. Segregation of Duties. Controls must provide for separation of duties and functions between authorization, performance, record keeping, custody of resources and review. Duties relating to debtor billing, receipt and deposit of collections and imprest fund cashier must be segregated to minimize the potential for unauthorized or improper acts.

D. Effectiveness of Controls. Effectiveness of controls are measured by periodic examination rather than on a low loss ratio to determine effectiveness of segregation of duties.

E. Receivables Determined Uncollectible. Compromise, suspension, or termination of collection action on receivables determined uncollectible must conform to statutory, GAO and Departmental requirements.



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