Miscellaneous Questions and Answers


Q. Can an FPA use PACER On-Line for selected claims and still utilize a batch process for a majority of claims?
A. Yes. A FPA can use PACER On-Line for selected claims while continuing to use a batch process for the rest.

Q. Do FPAs need a 386, or 486 PC to use PACER On-Line?
A. Yes. The minimum PC for PACER On-Line access is a 386, assuming that digital imaging will not be required. If digital imaging is desired, a 486 is the minimum requirement (please see the Equipment Requirements list for further information).

Q. How do we access PACER On-Line?
A. The access method is determined by an organization's communication capabilities and connectivity to FMSNet. In general, most organizations will access PACER On-Line via a modem and dial-up telephone connection.

Q. If a FPA has any unusual processes, can PACER On-Line accommodate them?
A. FMS will look at each situation and work with the agency to overcome obstacles regarding unusual processes. PACER On-Line has the flexibility to accommodate the unique needs of most organizations.

Q. PACER On-Line requires a USER ID. Will it be the same as the GOALS ID?
A. No. PACER On-Line will have its own ID.

Q. PACER On-Line requires a password to access the system. Will the password be generated by FMS?
A. FMS will generate the password initially. The user must change the password when or after he/she first signs-on to PACER On-Line. Passwords will expire every 30 days and must be changed by the user when prompted to do so by the PACER On-Line system.

Q. Will the FPAs receive an electronic or a paper disposition?
A. The type of disposition an organization will receive from PACER On-Line is determined by the method used in submitting claims. In general, if claims are submitted on-line, the initial disposition (Daily Advice of Status) will be returned to the agency on-line. Subsequent dispositions generated during the claims adjudication process will be provided via paper SF-3859. If an agency submits a paper SF-1184, the disposition will be via a paper Daily Advice of Status notice. Organizations that continue to submit claims via magnetic tape or electronic file submission will receive their disposition notices in the same manner.

Q. How will agencies receive cancellation information? Must agencies wait for receipt of the Standard Form 1098?
A. Agencies will receive cancellation information in the same manner as they do in today's environment.

Q. What type of database files are used in PACER On-Line?
A. Database files are in Datacom. The Language is Ideal.

Q. Can PACER On-Line screen displays be printed?
A. Yes. PACER On-Line screen displays can be printed by using the print screen function.

Q. Will PACER On-Line use TIN (Tax Identification Numbers)?
A. Yes. The TIN is a 9-digit taxpayer identification number. This is a unique identifier assigned to all individuals and businesses that file tax returns in the US. The TIN for individuals is their Social Security Number (SSN). The TIN for businesses is the Employee Identification Number or EIN, assigned by IRS. The Treasury Financial Manual (TFM) Bulletin 95-10, dated 8/18/95, requires that all Federal program agencies use TINs for vendor, miscellaneous, and salary payments. The compliance date for TIN usage was January 1, 1996. In PACER On-Line, the payee's TIN will be used to initiate a query.

Time Frames

Q. What is the time frame for receiving a digital image?
A. The time for receiving a digital image depends on how the image is requested (either on-line or batch), how long the image has been on the FRB Archive, and whether or not the image has ever been requested before. Images that have been requested before and are resident at the DI platform will be available IMMEDIATELY. Images that have been archived by the Federal Reserve System (FRS) in the preceding 6 months will normally be available within a few hours. Images that have been archived for more than 6 months will be available within 24 hours of the request.

Q. What is the processing time for the Adjudication process?
A. The current FMS standard for processing forgery and non-receipt claims is 14 days or less.

Q. What is the implementation schedule for customer agencies?
A. This will be decided by the FMS Regional Financial Centers (RFCs) in conjunction with their respective customer agencies based on payment and claims volumes, payment file types, claims input media, existing telecommunications connections, agency needs, etc.. FMS's Financial Information Office in conjunction with the Non-Treasury Disbursing Offices, The Federal Reserve Banks, and the U.S. Secret Service will develop an implementation schedule for organizations not serviced by our Regional Financial Centers.


Q. What cost will FPAs incur for digital imaging and PACER On-Line?
A. FMS will not charge an agency to utilize PACER On-Line. Agencies may incur costs for the requisite hardware and software (see Equipment Requirements list). The main charge to the user will be the way of telephone line usage charges incurred while on-line, receiving, or transmitting information. The only charge payable to FMS will be for copies of checks that are older than 18 months (following date of issuance) which is also done in today's environment. The current cost is $5.50. FMS is currently developing a cost strategy for check copies in an imaging environment.


Q. Are there any new reports in PACER On-Line regarding TDO claims and payments?
A. No. Reports will be the same as those received by FPAs today.


Q. Does PACER On-Line have security functions built into the system?
A. Yes. PACER On-Line has several layers of access security built into it. A secure ID card and FMS password is needed to gain access to the mainframe. A password and user ID combination is used to gain access into the PACER On-Line system. Once into the system, PACER On-Line determines exactly what information an individual has access to, based on the User Access Control List and User Profile Previously submitted by the agency management. The User Profile defines the level of security and access to information allowed for each employee who will use the system.


Q. How will agencies be trained in preparation for using PACER On-Line?
A. FMS is developing a self-paced software training instrument. It is a Computer Based Training (CBT) program developed as a stand alone application that can be installed on any Windows 3.1, 95, or NT capable computer. Having completed the various lessons within the CBT, personnel will possess the skills and abilities that are needed in order to successfully navigate through PACER On-Line. The CBT can be installed via a CD-ROM or 3.5" diskettes and will be available for agencies soon.

Q. What skills should agency personnel possess to effectively utilize PACER On-Line?
A. Suggested pre-requisite training for PACER On-Line includes:
  • Familiarity with a personal computer (PC)
  • PC Keyboarding
  • Windows (for those agencies/employees utilizing the digital imaging capabilities of PACER On-Line)

   Last Updated:  March 14, 2014