UCOWF Members Make a Difference

Update on UCOWF Proposal– Expanding Collections of State Debt through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP)

As part of President Obama’s commitment to crack down on improper payments and enhance program integrity, a Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation was created to help States and localities find ways to save taxpayer dollars and deliver benefits more efficiently and effectively.  A “Collaborative Forum,” a group of 200+ stakeholders from Federal, state, local and the private sector representatives, was formed by the Partnership. The Forum has been working to generate and review ideas for innovate pilot projects.  To date, four proposals from the Forum have been approved for funding by OMB.

UCOWF submitted a proposal for State Debt Recovery via the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) in programs that have a federal financial component.  In January 2011, a notice was posted on the UCOWF website that our proposal was selected for funding consideration by the Forum Steering Committee.  In late May 2011, the Partnership Fund announced the pilot had been approved for funding.  The following is a summary of the Pilot:

This pilot will address debt owed in Federal funded programs in which States disburse payments – such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, and Child Care – by matching  State-submitted debt with Federal payment information to simulate the potential to increase recoveries by authorizing TOP to offset Federal income tax refunds in more cases. The simulation will look at which state-managed programs should be referred, which payments should be offset, the potential amount of recovered funds, and the costs/benefits of this method of debt recovery. As a simulation, no actual offsets will be processed.  The evaluation will be constructed to validate matches to assess the potential for “false positives” in each of the programs.  In addition, the evaluation will explore the need for and potential efficiencies to be gained by consolidating state debt prior to submission to Treasury.  Each participating State will determine participating programs in consultation with Treasury.

UCOWF members, Denny Erickson, Sandy Smith and Laura Adkins, have been extensively involved in the Forum and other UCOWF members have provided input on several other potential proposals.   Denny Erickson has been taking the lead as UCOWF’s representative for the TOP pilot on the Forum.  He has been collecting and compiling information for Treasury and has been assisted by other UCOWF members Sandy Smith and Laura Adkins.  Seven States – Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin – have volunteered to participate in the pilot.  If you would like more information on the pilot project contact Denny.   His contact information is available in the UCOWF member listings.

You may also check out other pilots that have been approved at the Collaborative Forum website: http://collaborativeforumonline.com.

Please keep checking back to this website for additional information.