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Common Questions

  1. What is the Judgment Fund?
  2. What is the statutory authority for Judgment Fund?
  3. Does the Judgment Fund pay all awards for judgments and settlements against the United States?
  4. How much money does the Judgment Fund pay out in a typical year?
  5. Are federal agencies required to reimburse the Judgment Fund for payments made on their behalf?
  6. What criteria must be met for the Judgment Fund to pay a judgment or settlement?
  7. Who administers the Judgment Fund?
  8. Who can request payment from the Judgment Fund?
  9. Which agencies submit the most claims?
  10. How do agencies request payments?
  11. Are agencies required to supply a taxpayer identification number (TIN) when submitting a request for payment?
  12. What happens if an agency submits an incomplete request for payment?
  13. Are Judgment Fund payments offset to collect administrative debts?
  14. Does FMS report Judgment Fund payments to the IRS as income to the payee on IRS Form 1099?
  15. How does FMS issue a payment?
  16. What is the most common reason a bank returns an EFT payment?
  17. How long does it take to receive payment?
  18. How can an agency confirm that its fax was received?
  19. How can an agency check the status of a claim submitted?

1. What is the Judgment Fund?
The Judgment Fund is a permanent, indefinite appropriation available to pay final money judgments and awards against the United States. The Judgment Fund is also available to pay compromise settlements entered into by the U.S. Department of Justice related to actual or imminent litigation, but only if a judgment on the merits in that litigation would be payable from the Judgment Fund.

2. What is the statutory authority for Judgment Fund?
The law creating the Judgment Fund has been codified at 31 U.S.C. § 1304.

3. Does the Judgment Fund pay all awards for judgments and settlements against the United States?
No. The Judgment Fund may not be used to pay an award if another source of funds is legally available to make that payment.

4. How much money does the Judgment Fund pay out in a typical year?
The amounts paid by the Judgment Fund can vary significantly from year to year, so it is difficult to state what annual amount is “typical.” You can see the fiscal year amounts from FY 2003 through FY 2012 on the Judgment Fund Payment Search page.

5. Are federal agencies required to reimburse the Judgment Fund for payments made on their behalf?
Federal agencies are not required to reimburse the Judgment Fund except for Judgment Fund payments related to:
   Claims arising under the Contract Disputes Act (CDA)..
   Claims arising under the statutes identified in the No FEAR Act (Notification and Federal Employee
    Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act) and its implementing regulations.

6. What criteria must be met for the Judgment Fund to pay a judgment or settlement? Payments can be made from the Judgment Fund only when the following conditions have been met:
   Awards or settlements are final (i.e., no further review or appeal will be sought);
   Awards or settlements are monetary;
   Payment of the award or settlement is authorized under 31 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3); and
   Payment may not legally be made from any other source of agency funds.

7. Who administers the Judgment Fund?
The Judgment Fund Branch in the Financial Management Service (FMS) of the United States Department of the Treasury administers the Judgment Fund.

8. Who can request payment from the Judgment Fund?
Only authorized officials of a federal agency may submit a request for payment from the Judgment Fund. Requests submitted by anyone other than an authorized federal official will be deemed fraudulent. Filing a false or fraudulent claim constitutes a Federal offense that is punishable by fines, imprisonment, or both. Refer to 31 U.S.C. § 3279 and 18 U.S.C § 287.

9. Which agencies submit the most claims?
The Department of Justice (DOJ) submits by far the greatest number of claims. This is expected, however, since DOJ represents other federal agencies in any matter involving pending or actual litigation and has the authority to settle those cases as well.

10. How do agencies request payments?
Agencies may submit requests for payments from the Judgment Fund by faxing or mailing completed FMS Judgment Fund payment request forms or by submitting payment request information electronically through the Judgment Fund Internet Claims System.

11. Are agencies required to supply a taxpayer identification number (TIN) when submitting a request for payment?
Yes, agencies must include a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) on all requests for payments, unless an agency can demonstrate that one of five (5) specific exceptions apply. The exceptions are listed in the FMS TIN Policy, which may be found on the FMS Web site at: Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Policy.

12. What happens if an agency submits an incomplete request for payment?
FMS may return, without action, any request for payment that is incomplete. If a request for payment is returned for lack of necessary information, the submitting agency may resubmit the request for payment once all of the required information is available.

13. Are Judgment Fund payments offset to collect administrative debts?
Yes, separate and apart from its role as administrator of the Judgment Fund, FMS, in its role as chief disbursing officer for the executive branch, offsets Judgment Fund payments to collect delinquent, non tax Federal debts through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP). Offset Of Payments From The Judgment Fund

14. Does FMS report Judgment Fund payments to the IRS as income to the payee on IRS Form 1099?
No, FMS does not report Judgment Fund payments as potential taxable income to the IRS. To the extent that any Form 1099 needs to be issued, it is the responsibility of the agency submitting the payment request to do so.

15. How does FMS issue a payment?
The preferred method for Judgment Fund payments is by electronic funds transfer (EFT). FMS will issue an electronic payment to the payee's account. The Voucher for Payment must direct payment to the payee designated in the judgment or settlement agreement.

16. What is the most common reason a bank returns an EFT payment?
EFT payments are most commonly returned because the payee has provided an incorrect American Banking Association (ABA) routing number. Often, the payee will erroneously provide the ABA routing number for a Federal Wire payment instead of the ABA routing number for an EFT payment (which are different from wire payments). Some banks have separate ABA routing numbers for EFT payments and Federal Wire payments.

17. How long does it take to receive payment?
A claim that is faxed or mailed to the Judgment Fund is usually processed in eight to twelve weeks from the date of receipt if the submission is complete. A claim submitted electronically in JFICS is usually processed in two weeks, if the submission is complete. This time frame will be longer if corrections or additions to a submission is required.

18. How can an agency confirm that its fax was received?
The submitting agency may contact the Judgment Fund Branch at (202) 874-6664.

How can an agency check the status of a claim submitted?
19. If the claim was submitted more that four weeks ago, search the public website for the payment. If the payment is not located, the submitting agency may contact the Judgment Fund Branch at (202) 874-6523.


   Last Updated:  March 14, 2014