Blog

Welcome to our blog. From here, our experts will highlight important news and share their thoughts on improper payment mitigation, emerging technologies, and process improvement in the public sector.

TOP Collected $3.0 Billion in Delinquent Debt Last Year

Since 2012, annual Federal collections of debts owed to states through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) have been between $3.0 and $3.2 billion dollarsThe five federal-state programs under TOP collected over $3 billion dollars in the 2016 fiscal year.

TOP delinquent debt collection totals

Despite the success of these programs, there are millions left uncollected due to missing data that can help increase data matches between tax refunds and the state’s certification information.  The TOP program has additional data processes that allow states to submit more than one name for a certified debt without having to do through the certification process. Some states consistently perform at higher collection rates than others thanks to the advanced processes brought by AuthenticAID’s TOPAID service.  TOPAID maximizes revenue recovery for State partners in TOP.

Contact us today to learn how we can increase your revenue.

Top Creditors for Social Security Offsets for FY2016

The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) collected nearly $713 million from over 4.5 million Social Security offsets during fiscal 2016. TOP is operated by the Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Service, and intercepts federal and state payments to collect delinquent debts owed to government agencies.

TOP’s automated offset process is only as good as the data files loaded into it. Agencies can maximize their offsets by using AuthenticAID’s TOPAID program. TOPAID works with the Treasury Offset Program to maximize offsets by providing data matching, mining, and validation of delinquent debt records.
Contact us today to learn more.

TOP Feature: State Reciprocal Program (SRP)

States can now enter the State Reciprocal Program (SRP) with the U.S. Department of the Treasury to refer delinquent debts owed to state agencies to TOP (Treasury Offset Program) for the offset of federal vendor and other non-tax payments. The states then reciprocate by offsetting payments to payees who owe delinquent debts to federal entities.

Last year, 10 states and the District of Columbia participated in SRP. TOP recovered $47.7 million in delinquent debts for the states that participated. In return, $35.5 million was recovered for the federal government by the states.

AuthenticAID’s TOPAID service can help states maximize their offset by providing data matching, mining, and validation. Historical TOPAID accuracy has exceeded 99.99% across all clients. Contact us to learn more. 

 

TOP Feature: Unemployment Insurance Compensation

The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) implemented the Unemployment Insurance Compensation debt program in early 2011. TOP allows the comparison of tax refund records with record of debts submitted to Fiscal Services by states. Matches are made between taxpayers and the names on delinquent debt records. Fiscal Services then reduces the taxpayer’s federal tax refund payment to pay the debtor’s past-due amount.

In the first four years of the program, TOP, with support from the Department of Labor and the IRS, recovered more than $1 billion in delinquent unemployment insurance benefit debt for states.

With no statute of limitations on collection, no state residency requirement, and no fraud requirement in order to collect, 43 states and the District of Columbia have enrolled in Unemployment Insurance Compensation debt program with more states expected to join this year.

Authenticaid’s TOPAID service can maximize your unemployment insurance offset by providing data matching, mining, and validation of your delinquent debt records. Contact us today to learn more.

 

TOP Feature: Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The first Food Stamp Program was launched on May 16, 1939 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help people on relief. Since then, the program has evolved through several iterations to meet the changing needs of the American people. The Food Stamp Program is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and currently helps 44 million Americans fight hunger. SNAP works closely with the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to correct mistakes related to SNAP to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse of the system.

In 1992, FNS and state offices administering the Food Stamp Program began submitting food stamp recipient debts to the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) to recover overpayments. States submit delinquent nutrition assistance obligations to FNS, which in turn submits the debts to TOP for collection through the offset of federal tax refunds and other eligible payments. Since 1992, TOP has successfully recovered well over $1 billion dollars from offsets, including $153.2 million recovered in FY2015.

AuthenticAID’s TOPAID program can maximize your state’s offset recovery through TOP. TOPAID provides data matching, mining, and validation services to optimize use of TOP. Contact us to learn more.

State-by-state comparison by percentage of SNAP participants:

State Percent of State Population on SNAP State Percent of State Population on SNAP
Alabama 17% Montana 11%
Alaska 11% Nebraska 9%
Arizona 14% Nevada 15%
California 11% New Hampshire 7%
Colorado 9% New Jersey 10%
Connecticut 12% New Mexico 23%
Delaware 15% New York 15%
District of Columbia 20% North Carolina 15%
Florida 17% North Dakota 7%
Georgia 17% Ohio 14%
Hawaii 12% Oklahoma 16%
Idaho 11% Oregon 18%
Illinois 15% Pennsylvania 15%
Indiana 11% Rhode Island 16%
Iowa 12% South Carolina 16%
Kansas 9% South Dakota 11%
Kentucky 15% Tennessee 17%
Louisiana 20% Texas 14%
Maine 14% Utah 7%
Maryland 12% Vermont 13%
Massachusetts 11% Virginia 10%
Michigan 15% Washington 14%
Minnesota 9% Wisconsin 13%
Mississippi 19% Wyoming 6%
Missouri 13%

 

Source: http://www.cbpp.org/research/a-closer-look-at-who-benefits-from-snap-state-by-state-fact-sheets

TOP Feature: State Income Tax (SIT) Program

Treasury Offset Program: State Income Tax

The State Income Tax (SIT) program allows states to send delinquent state income tax debts to Treasury Offset Program (TOP) for payments to be collected through offsets from federal tax refunds. This program recovered $571.1 million in delinquent state income tax debts in FY 2015.

 

Other than offsetting federal tax refunds, some states also collect funds by offsetting:

  • Expense Reimbursements
  • Travel Advances
  • Vendor or Contractor Payments
  • Grants

With no limit on the age of the debt from both individuals and businesses, there is an opportunity for states to earn back more from tax evaders. Compare your state to the states above and consider there may be more funds to offset.

AuthenticAID’s TOPAID service can maximize the revenue recovery by optimizing data files. If you’d like to learn more, click here to send us a request.

TOP Feature: Child Support’s Highest and Lowest Collection Rates

Treasury Offset Programs: Child Support’s Highest and Lowest Collection Rates

$1.9 billion in delinquent child support obligations were collected through Fiscal Services Treasury Offset Program (TOP) with partnerships between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and participating states. This is by far the most successful Treasury Offset Program. Since TOP’s introduction in 1996, collection rates continue to improve with the help from third-party companies such as AuthenticAID’s TOPAID service.

TOP’s Child Support Program utilizes two methods of offset: Tax Refund Offset and Administrative Offset. All states and territories participate in the Tax Refund Offset and all but eight states utilize the Administrative Offset Program.

How the Tax Refund Offset Works

States submit their outstanding child support payment data to the OCSE. Financial Management Service (FMS) compares that data against tax records. Then all or part of those tax refunds are intercepted from the persons who owe past-due child support. The intercepted funds go through the OCSE and are passed through the state child support agency to owed recipients.

How the Administrative Offset Works

Unlike the Tax Refund Offset, the Administrative Offset Program offsets payments to private vendors who contract for the government, federal retirement payments, and relocation/travel reimbursements owed to federal employees.

States use the same process as the Tax Refund Offset to submit their cases of outstanding payments to the OCSE. FMS identifies matches between the state’s records and the payment records for federal payees, and then seizes the amount and transmits it to the state through the OCSE.

States with Highest & Lowest Collection Rates:

We compared all of the entities participating in TOP’s Child Support program for the 2015 fiscal year. The states with the highest collection rates had the best ratios of dollars collected per population.

In order for a states to have high collection rates, they must have validated records for submission. AuthenticAID’s TOPAID service has been proven to increase collections with a 100% accuracy rate when validated records. Click here to contact us and learn how AuthenticAID can maximize your returns.

 

 

 

 

TOP’s State Programs Recovered Billions of Delinquent Debt Last Year

The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) is administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Fiscal Service with the purpose of collecting delinquent debts owed to federal and state entities. The five federal-state programs under TOP collected over $3 billion dollars in the 2015 fiscal year.

Despite the success of these programs, there are millions more dollars left uncollected due to missing or inaccurate data resulting from data corruption or outdated records.  AuthenticAID’s TOPAID service maximizes revenue recovery for partners in TOP. Contact us today to learn how we can increase your revenue.

 

 

Follow These 9 Identity Theft Prevention Tips

Have you ever received a phone call from your credit card company asking to verify a strange purchase, possibly made at an obscure vendor in a place you’ve never been?

You may find yourself wondering who stole your credit card information, how they stole it, and most importantly what you can do to keep your information safe in the future. You’re not alone. According to Javelin’s Identity Fraud Report, 13.1 million people were victims of identity theft in 2015, which resulted in $15 million in losses. On average, consumers lost approximately $1,585 per incident. Between 2010 and 2016, a total of $112 billion has been stolen by fraudsters. These criminals wouldn’t be involved in such lucrative illegal activities if people took measures to safeguard their identities. Remember, a little caution can go a long way to protecting your information.

Best Professional Practices

Organizations must continually develop their policies to protect customers, vendors, and employees against identity theft. Even if you have identity theft countermeasures in place, you may still be at risk if you’re not actively following prevention protocols.

  1. Keep Passwords Private and Hidden — avoid sharing passwords among coworkers or storing passwords on easily accessed notes. Passwords that can be stolen will be stolen.
  2. Keep Personal and Professional Information Separate — what is stored on a company device is accessible to the company, just as anything accessible on a personal device can be accessed by the owner. When personal information and professional data are present on the same device, a fraudster who gains access to either side will compromise both you and your organization.
  3. Don’t Be Fooled by Phishing Emails or Impersonators — criminals use an attack called “spear phishing” that targets specific groups of people. Criminals will use a trusted executive or senior manager’s name (often obtained from a public website) and send email appearing to be from that manager to their employees. Opening the included links or attachments will compromise the user’s computer.

Smart Tips for Home

The policies in place at work also apply to home. However, because people generally provide more financial information through their personal computers, these become a greater risk for identity theft.

  1. Use Security Software on Home Computers — anti-virus, malware protection, and firewalls are essential to protect your home computer systems. Don’t assume your computer came with security software when you bought it.
  2. Vary Your Passwords — don’t use the same password for multiple websites. Fraudsters are aware that people do this and will try a working password on every site you use. Consider a secure password manager such as LastPass or KeePass to make it simple to have a different password for every account you use.
  3. Password Protect Your Wi-Fi and Avoid Public Networks — don’t give fraudsters free access to your personal Wi-Fi, and don’t conduct private business on public Wi-Fi. Anybody who is on the same network as you may be able to capture your data.
  4. Don’t Over-Share on Social Networking Sites — too much personal information on social media can help criminals bypass security questions. For example, some credit card companies require a zip code for verification. This information can be easily obtained if you list your hometown on Facebook.
  5. Don’t Share Your Social Security Number When Shopping — always try to use another form of identification where possible, or find out why it’s needed and how it will be protected.
  6. Purge Old Financial Records and Keep Current Records Protected — it doesn’t matter if the financial statements are paper or electronic, don’t keep them in unsecure locations and destroy anything you can be certain you will never need. Old electronic statements should be deleted and paper statements should be shredded. All records you keep should be kept in secure and/or encrypted storage (e.g. a password-protected folder for electronic statements or a locked filing cabinet for paper statements).

Simple Caution Goes a Long Way

Every security measure can be broken. With so many targets to choose from, though, identity thieves will usually go after the easiest targets. By making yourself even slightly more secure, you minimize the return a fraudster can expect from trying to steal your information and give them a reason to move on. Identity theft is avoidable and preventable. Use sound judgment — if something seems questionable, it probably is.

Leveraging Private Sector Efficiency in Government Operations

Outsourcing financial services effectively improves operational efficiency, streamlines in-house staffing, and ensures the most responsible use of budgetary funds. Government agencies increasingly find it productive to rely on third-party providers to support the full range of their operations.

Improvements in Operational Efficiency

Reputable outsourcing companies continuously improve their range of services and operational standards for government agencies, leading to a trend of increasing investment on the parts of bureaus on the federal, state, and local levels in recent years. In addition to offering both customized and standardized processes for accounting services or revenue collection, private sector companies also shoulder the responsibility for maintaining all necessary regulatory standards for efficient operations. The contracted company manages all regulatory updates, ensuring that its partner agency is compliant with evolving standards.

Effective Use of Budgeted Funds

The specialization of third-party companies has created the opportunity for budgetary efficiencies that government agencies frequently lack the resources to match internally. Outsourced services not only allow for a smaller in-house staff, which results in substantial payroll savings, but are usually higher quality and available at more affordable rates. In addition, many service providers offer customized services that integrate with existing government systems.

Elimination of Staffing Redundancies

In-house employees are often required to take on additional responsibilities due to staffing shortages or protracted recruiting efforts. Outsourcing frees up valuable manpower to focus on the areas they can have the greatest impact without the distraction and stress of juggling unrelated, frequently-conflicting, responsibilities. This also relieves government workers of the difficulties of managing esoteric, ever-changing regulatory updates outside their specialization area. Third-party experts manage the important details, including any policy updates.

Outsourcing Options Improve Efficiency in Many Ways

Respected third-party companies are the best solution for both strengthening operations and streamlining budgets for government agencies. Finding the right provider with a proven track record of collaborating with government agencies is essential for maintaining high operational standards, while controlling spending and eliminating staffing redundancies.