How to Identify Treasury Checks
Financial Management Service Disbursements
Role of the Financial Management Service (FMS), Department of the Treasury
Although many child support payments have been converted to electronic payments, there are still some child support checks issued from federal agencies. The Financial Management Service, a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is the principal disbursing agent of the federal government. FMS issues approximately 85 percent of all federal payments. The remaining 15 percent are issued by a few federal agencies--for example, Department of Defense (DoD)--that have either statutory or delegated authority to issue their own payments. FMS has three Regional Financial Centers and two Debt Management Operations Centers where all Treasury disbursements are issued, both paper check and EFT payments. The Debt Management Operations Centers issue payments that are partially offset (attached) for child support--for example, IRS tax refund payments.
FMS Regional Financial Centers
Kansas City Financial Center
P.O. Box 12599
Kansas City, MO 64116-0599
Help Desk Phone: 816-414-2100 (for Treasury 310 EFT payments)
Office Symbol 310
Philadelphia Financial Center
P.O. Box 8676
Philadelphia, PA 19101-8676
Office Symbol 303
San Francisco Financial Center
P.O. Box 24700
San Francisco, CA 94119-3858
Phone: 510- 594-7300
Office Symbol 312
Debt Management Operations Centers
How to Read U.S. Treasury Checks
What To Do if the Check Should Not Have Been Sent to Your State Disbursement Unit (SDU)
If you are certain that the check should not have been sent to your SDU, contact the appropriate Regional Financial Center (RFC) and arrange to return the check. The city and state of the appropriate RFC appear on the face of the check to the left of the check number. A U.S. Treasury check, with the exception of a check returned from the Social Security Administration (SSA), will have the return address of the RFC on the return envelope.
If your SDU needs to return a payment to the SSA by paper check, please use the following procedure:
- Make the check payable to the Social Security Administration (not the U.S. Treasury)
- Include on the check the Social Security number (SSN) of the noncustodial parent/SSA beneficiary
Send the check to the SSA at:
Mid-Atlantic Program Service Center
P. O. Box 3430
Philadelphia, PA 19122
This will help the SSA receive the payment directly without delay.
What is on the Face of a U.S. Treasury Check?
The date line is the first print line located below the words "Check No." and runs the length of the check. Typical information found on the date line, from left to right, includes:
- Date of the check, far left side
- Regional Financial Center location
- Check symbol, a four-digit check symbol related to the series of the check number, and
- Check number, far right side.
The payment ID line, the second print line, is located directly below the date line. Typical information found on the payment ID line, from left to right, includes:
- Line code
- SSN of the noncustodial parent, far right side
An "S" after the SSN indicates that the check is an SSA income-attached benefits check. The number immediately following the "S" indicates the type of SSA payment. For example,
S1 = SSA recurring payment
S2 = prior month's accrual (PMA)
S3 = current month's accrual (CMA)
- The Agency Location Code is an eight-digit number identifying the federal payroll agency that prepared the payroll file that FMS issued.
The name and address lines, print lines 3-7, include the following data elements:
- Payee to whom the check was issued, 3rd print line. On a child support check, this would be the SDU to which the check is being sent
- Name of NCP or payer, 4th print line
- Case or member identification number, 3rd or 4th print line, depending on number of lines in address, and
- Amount of payment, 5th print line, far right.
What is on the Face of a Department of Defense (DoD) Check?
Most DoD garnishment payments are sent electronically, but there are some paper checks sent to SDUs, counties, and individual custodial parents.
- DoD civilian checks processed by Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS): The NCP's name, SSN and Case ID are printed at the bottom few lines of the check.
- Army Active/Reserve Members: The NCP's SSN is printed in very small numbers above the payee name on the check. The Case ID is printed on line two of the address. The NCP's name is not always present with the Case ID.
- Air Force Active/Reserve Members: The NCP's SSN is printed in very small numbers above the payee name on the check. The Case ID is printed on the second line of the address. The NCP's name is not always present with the Case ID.
- Navy Active/Reserve Members: The NCP's SSN is printed at the bottom of the check. The last five digits of the NCP's SSN are embedded among letters at the top of the check.
- Marine Corps Active/Reserve Members: The NCP's last name and SSN are printed at the bottom of the check. The Case ID is printed on the second line of the address.
- Retired Military Members: The first five digits of the NCP's SSN are embedded among letters, displayed towards the top of the check under U.S. Treasury, and beside the "Defense Finance". The Case ID is in the second line of the address. The NCP's name is not always present with the Case ID.
Determine the Source of Income
Most child support payments from federal payroll agencies are deducted from federal employee paychecks. A child support payment from a federal employee's salary will be indicated to the right of the address block:
Sometimes the child support payment is not from a salary but another source of income.
For tax refunds, the Internal Revenue Service uses the following term:
- TAX REFUND
Payments from SSA benefits are designated as follows:
FOR AUG [monthly Social Security retirement income-withholding]
FOR INS [disability insurance income-withholding]
Payments from the Office of Personnel Management appear as follows:
- CSA ANNUITY [Civil Service Annuity]
- CSR REFUND [Civil Service Refund]
- CSF LUMP SUM [Civil Service annual leave lump sum payment]
Payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs are designated as follows:
- VA COMP [income-withholding from compensation for disability]
- VA PENS [income-withholding of pension]
What to Do if You Cannot Identify a U.S. Treasury Check
Unidentified checks are an unfortunate occurrence of SDU processing. There may be several reasons why you cannot identify a check:
- Your SDU implementation may have involved a lot of case clean-up. Perhaps your IV-D offices closed some non-performing cases. The check could be for a closed case.
- Your county clerks of court did not collect certain identifiers like SSN, so the non-IV-D or private orders in your automated system and SDU may lack complete identification.
- You assigned each case/order a unique identifier of which federal agencies were not informed.
- You cannot identify a check without the county identifier (e.g., FIPS code), and the U.S. Treasury check does not include this information.
If you need more identifying information to match the U.S. Treasury check payment to your SDU database, first contact the Department of Treasury's RFC that issued the check. The RFC contact will ask for the check number and check symbol as well as other payment information, such as the date of payment, amount, and account number (for example, the NCP's SSN). The RFC contact can then provide the name of the federal payroll agency that certified the child support payment and can explain the various codes on the face of the check.
If you actually need someone to research the underlying income withholding order, you need to contact either the federal payroll agency that does payroll for the NCP employee or contact the actual agency where the NCP works. (Some federal payroll agencies do not store complete information about the income withholding order. You may need to contact the actual agency where the NCP works for more information.)
DFAS Contacts for Identifying Checks
The DFAS has identified the following contact for assistance with identifying a DFAS child support payment:
Financial Systems Specialist, DFAS
Phone: (216) 204-1612 - problems with DFAS payments direct line
Phone: (216) 522-5118, ext. 41612
Fax: (216) 522-5471