DEBT MANAGEMENT CENTER - National Association of Veteran`s

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DEBT MANAGEMENT CENTER
School Liability Debt Payment Procedures
Tim Wheeler
1
DMC Mission Statement
Our primary mission is to
collect debts in the most
efficient and cost effective
manner possible while
maintaining compassionate,
high quality service to Veterans
and their families.
2
Debt Management Center
• We are located with the VA Regional Office in St. Paul, MN
• Debt Management Center (DMC) was established in July 1991
• We provide debt collection services to the Veterans Benefits
Administration (VBA) and the Veterans Health Administration
(VHA)
• We have jurisdiction for collection of overpayments for
Compensation, Pension, Vocational Rehabilitation, Education,
and Home Loan Guarantee benefits
• We service approximately 575,000 accounts with a portfolio
totaling about 1.5 billion dollars
• Our office is staffed by 165 employees; almost half of our staff
are Veterans
• 56 telephone financial specialists answer about 2,300 phone
calls per day
3
What action creates debts?
• Terminations
– Student stopped attending or never attended
• Reductions/Adjustments
– Student reduces course load
• Amendments
– Tuition and/or fees changed
– Based other tuition and fees received
(waivers/scholarships)
• Incorrect Amount Certified to VA
– Paid for wrong student
– Paid more money than certified
4
Why Would a School Have a Debt?
• Student never attended classes for which he/she was certified
(regardless of the reason for non-attendance)
• The student completely withdraws on or before the first day of
the term. If a student reduces, the debt shall be assessed to the
student
• The school received a payment for the wrong student.
• The school received a duplicate payment
• The school submitted an amended enrollment certification and
reported reduced tuition and fee charges, reduced Yellow Ribbon
amount, or both
• The student dies during the term or before the start of the term
• VA issued payment above the amount certified on the enrollment
certification that was used to process the payment (VA data entry
error) and was refunded to the student is a valid debt
5
The Collection Process
Amended 1999B is submitted to the Regional Processing
Office (RPO)
– Letter sent to School Certifying Official (SCO)
– Letter contains Term dates and the reason for debt
– Letter advising Notification of Indebtedness (NOI) will be sent by
the Debt Management Center (DMC). DMC letter will contain
payment and dispute information
6
The Collection Process Cont’d
First Notice of Indebtedness sent by DMC, letter provides
information regarding:
– Where to send payment, including return envelope and payment
remittance stub
– E-mail address: [email protected]
– Toll-free number for DMC: 1-800-827-0648
All disputes should be processed through DMC to ensure
proper follow-up and possible suspension of collection
action, all disputes should be submitted via email to
[email protected]
All payments should go to the Debt Management
Center not the RPO.
7
The Collection Process Cont’d
Second Notice of Indebtedness sent by DMC, 30 days
from initial notification letter, advises:
– Where to send payment, including return envelope and payment
remittance stub
– E-mail address: [email protected]
– Toll-free number for DMC: 1-800-827-0648
All disputes should be processed through DMC to ensure
proper follow-up and possible suspension of collection
action, all disputes should be submitted via email to
[email protected]
All payments should go to the Debt Management
Center not the RPO.
8
The Collection Process Cont’d
Third Notice of Indebtedness sent by DMC, 30 days from
second notification letter, advises:
– Where to send payment, including return envelope and payment
remittance stub
– E-mail address: [email protected]
– Toll-free number for DMC: 1-800-827-0648
If payment is not received and applied within 60 days,
account will be referred to the U.S. Department of Treasury,
Treasury Offset Program (TOP).
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Why TOP?
• On occasion, an entity’s indebtedness to the Federal Government
will become delinquent. As required by Federal law, Federal
agencies submit these delinquent debts to the Treasury Offset
Program (TOP) for interception of eligible Federal and state
payments payable to the delinquent debtor, a process known as
“centralized offset”.
• TOP is a centralized offset program managed and operated by the
Department of Treasury’s Financial Management Services (FMS).
• Before submitting a debt to TOP, a creditor agency must certify that
the debt is valid, delinquent and legally enforceable and that the
agency complied with all the due process pre-requisites prior to
offset. This means that, at least 60 days prior to the submission to
TOP, the creditor agency has sent notice to the debtor stating the
amount and type of debt and the agency’s intention to refer the debt
to TOP for offset. The creditor agency provided the debtor with the
opportunity to resolve the debt through a repayment agreement
and/or to dispute the agency’s claim.
10
Why TOP cont.
• After a nontax debt has been submitted for offset, TOP compares a
payee’s taxpayer identification number (TIN) and name. If there is a
match, the payee’s account is intercepted in the amount and to
extent authorized by Federal law. The intercepted payment is
applied to the debtor’s debt balance.
• A TIN identifies the debtor in the same way that it identifies the
taxpayer for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code. Pursuant to
regulations governing TOP, all subdivisions or organizations sharing
a single TIN are responsible for all debts associated with that TIN.
TREASURY DIRECT CONTACTS
• Treasury Help Line: 1-800-304-3107
11
Improvements in TOP
Refund Process
• In April 2013, DMC began processing all TOP refunds
–
–
Refund is sent to the School Certifying Official
Address is based on Facility Code debt was established for and current WEAMS
address
• New Process Includes
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
A letter sent to the institution receiving the refund provides:
• Name of Student
• Last four of Student’s SSN
• School Facility Code Number
• TOP Trace Number
Contact information for Treasury regarding details on what federal payment was offset
Treasury can provide the detail regarding the federal payment that was offset, DMC
does not currently have access to that information
If this is a duplicate offset, fee will be included in the payment, if appropriate
Each amount is thoroughly researched to determine if the fee is due
Not bundled with other payments
Response time is under 10 business days from when DMC receives funds
12
What Happens When DMC
Receives Your Dispute
•
•
•
•
•
•
We review your email to determine why you are disputing the debt, and if
DMC can answer your question and resolve your dispute
If DMC can answer your question, we provide a response to your email
If DMC needs more information to answer your question, your dispute is
forwarded to the Regional Processing Office (RPO) for a detailed review.
Once the review is completed, the response is forwarded to DMC and we
contact you regarding the findings
Collection action is suspended on your account until the dispute is
resolved, unless your account has already been referred to the Treasury
Offset Program (TOP). In this case, your account is not recalled from
TOP
DMC will acknowledge receipt of your dispute inquiry and will keep you
apprised of any change in collection status
The response from the RPO should be received within 30 days. If 30
days has passed and DMC has not received an answer to the dispute, we
contact the RPO directly requesting status. Disputes are tracked by DMC
on a reoccurring basis
13
Improvement of Dispute Process
•
Prior to April 2013 schools had two options for disputing their debts
1.
2.
Contact the RPO
Contact DMC
•
This process duplicated efforts and created confusion. In April 2013,
Veterans Benefits Administration, Office of Resource Management and
DMC collaborated and issued VA-wide Guidance on a new dispute
process
•
DMC is now a single point of contact for schools for any established debts
being disputed. This allows:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Single point of contact for disputes
Reduced confusion and less duplication of efforts
Ensures collection efforts are suspended during a timely dispute inquiry
Allows clear oversight in tracking and addressing outstanding disputes
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What Happens After my Dispute
has Been Answered?
•
Debt is cleared, if not valid
•
Collection action resumes, if appropriate
1. Email sent from DMC with decision
2. Next appropriate collection letter is sent
3. In May 2013, DMC changed the timeframe in which disputed
debts are referred to TOP
a. Previously, if a debt was deemed valid and removed from dispute status,
collection action resumed immediately
b. Collection action is now suspended for an additional 30 days to allow time to
repay the debt before TOP referral
c. This only occurs when the 3rd Notice of Indebtedness has already been sent
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What Procedures Should You Follow When
Sending Payments to DMC?
1. You should not send any funds to DMC until your school receives a
collection letter from DMC
2. If you did not receive a collection notice or letter from DMC or a letter from
your education RPO referencing a debt, verify with your certifying official
that the information regarding any change in enrollment or tuition and fee
charges was sent to the Education RPO, before you send payment
1. If you send payment without verifying that a debt exists and you do not
include the tear off payment stub from the DMC letter, application of your
payment will be delayed
2. The DMC payment stub, from the bottom of our letter, should be included
with your payment. This will expedite processing
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Can You Send One Check for
Multiple Students?
Yes, however, you should send the remittance stubs with your
payment and a list with the file numbers and dollar amounts the check
covers. You need to make sure that the check you send totals the
amount of debts you want it applied to. If you send additional funds
and DMC does not know what debt to apply it to, DMC may have to
return the check to you for additional information.
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What if you sent payment to the RPO
before the DMC/Muskogee consolidation
and the debt has not cleared?
•
Gather information about the payment. We will need to know the date,
amount, and number of the check, as well as the Social Security Number of
the student
•
If it was cashed, please provide DMC with a copy of the front and back of
the check
•
Fax the information to DMC, Attention: Correspondence Unit at
612-970-5782, or you can email DMC at [email protected]
•
DMC will follow up with the RPO
•
If payment was not applied and an offset was received through TOP, the
RPO of jurisdiction will refund your payment and the fee charged by
Treasury
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How Does the School Make a
Payment With DMC?
ACH payments can be made on our PayVA website:
www.pay.va.gov
The person making the payment will need some of the information listed on
DMC’s letter to ensure proper credit.
DMC’s mailing address is:
DMC (389)
PO Box 11930
St. Paul, MN 55111-0930
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What if You Need to Contact
DMC Directly?
E-mail inquiries may be directed to:
[email protected]
Otherwise, the toll free number to our call center is:
1-800-827-0648
1-612-970-5782 fax
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Things You Should Know
• All disputes should be emailed to [email protected]
• Wait to receive the DMC letter before submitting your payment.
Include the payment remittance slip with your check
• DMC’s toll-free number is 1-800-827-0648
• DMC can provide you with an updated spreadsheet to include all
your current debts. Send an e-mail request with your facility
code(s) to [email protected]
• If you have received a DMC letter advising your account will be
referred to TOP, your payment must be applied to the debt within 60
days of the date of the DMC’s letter
21
Other Enhancements
• January 2012, Centralized Processing of School Liability Collections
– 1. DMC’s current business standard is two business days
– 2. Muskogee RPO researches unidentified payments for proper application
• May 2012, Improved communication efforts between DMC and
Schools
– 1. DMC created an unique email account for school debt inquiries/disputes
– 2. Response within 5 business days
– 3. Continuous training to DMC staff to improve quality
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Other Enhancements
• December 2012, DMC reached out to Department of Treasury
– 1. Clear up questions on Fedwire payments
– 2. Contact information for Treasury
– 3. Treasury will provide school listings of debts referred to TOP by TIN
(taxpayer identification number) by calling Treasury Help – 800-304-3107. To
receive this report the school Controller needs to send Treasury written
authorization requesting release of the information
– 4. Information and guidance on TOP debt collection process
– 5. Recommendations to avoid payment delays when TOP offsets
occur
• March 2013, DMC modified collection letters
– 1. Changes included
a) Centralization of the dispute process
b) Detailed information regarding our Call Center
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Other Enhancements
• April 2013, Centralized dispute process
–
–
–
–
1.
2.
3.
4.
Single point of contact for disputes
Reduced confusion and less duplication of efforts
Ensures collection efforts are suspended during a timely dispute inquiry
Allows clear oversight in tracking and addressing outstanding disputes
• May 2013, Program changes
–
–
1. Ensures for a full 60 days after the 3rd collection letter before referral to TOP
2. Payment receipt or paid in full letters for TOP offsets
• Future
– 1. Continue to participate in School Association Conferences
a) Education
b) Improve VA policies and procedures
c) Establish dialogue and communications
– 2. VBA is working to auto-generate current debt listing based on address in WEAMS file
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Questions
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