Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996: Department of Agriculture Faces Challenges Implementing Certain Key Provisions

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The testimony discusses debt collection efforts by two major components at the Department of Agriculture--the Rural Housing Service (RHS) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 requires agencies to (1) notify the Department of the Treasury of debts more than 180 days delinquent for the purposes of administrative offset against any amounts that might otherwise be due and (2) refer such debts to Treasury for centralized collection. To facilitate collection, agencies can administratively garnish the wages of delinquent debtors throughout government. GAO ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. December 5, 2001.

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Description

Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The testimony discusses debt collection efforts by two major components at the Department of Agriculture--the Rural Housing Service (RHS) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 requires agencies to (1) notify the Department of the Treasury of debts more than 180 days delinquent for the purposes of administrative offset against any amounts that might otherwise be due and (2) refer such debts to Treasury for centralized collection. To facilitate collection, agencies can administratively garnish the wages of delinquent debtors throughout government. GAO found that agencies are excluding most reported debt more than 180 days delinquent from referral requirements. To more fully realize the benefits of debt collection, agencies need to improve their implementation of the act. The Financial Management Service is making steady progress in collecting delinquent federal non-tax debt through the Treasury Offset Program--a mandatory governmentwide debt collection program that compares delinquent debtor debt to federal payment data. Agriculture and other agencies still have not used administrative wage garnishment to collect delinquent non-tax debt even though experts have testified that it can be an extremely powerful tool for debt collection. If the government is going to make significant progress in collecting the billion of dollars its owned in delinquent non-tax debt, federal agencies have to make implementation of the act's debt collection provisions a top priority."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • December 5, 2001

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996: Department of Agriculture Faces Challenges Implementing Certain Key Provisions, text, December 5, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290212/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.