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Gold Book: The Check Reclamation Guide

Section 1: Introduction

General Information

Introduction: Check reclamation is a recovery procedure used by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) to obtain refunds (reclamations) from a presenting financial institution for paid U.S. Treasury checks.

Payments affected: All U.S. Treasury checks, regardless of the payment type, are subject to check reclamation procedures.

Conditions: Reclamation actions may be initiated against the presenting financial institution when the…

  • Check was presented for payment over a forged or unauthorized endorsement, or,
  • When a benefit check was negotiated after the payee’s death, or,
  • When the check was materially altered

Time limitation on reclamation action: The table below shows how long Fiscal Service has to reclaim funds from the presenting financial institution.

If the payee is: Then the Bureau of the Fiscal Service has:
Deceased One year from the date the check was presented for payment.
Not deceased One year and 180 days from the date the check was presented for payment, providing the payee filed a timely claim.

The presenting financial institution is liable for the following:

  • The principal amount of the check; and if applicable, accrued interest, penalties, and administrative fees.

The presenting financial institution should be aware that:

  • Their liability is not contingent upon its ability to collect from prior endorsers
  • It's their responsibility to pay reclamations timely in order to avoid the direct debit process that will occur on the 31st day if the reclamation has not been paid or protested.
  • Fiscal Service will only accept reclamation protests from financial institutions and not their customers or other correspondents

Check Information

Sample: Below is a sample of a U.S. Treasury check:

image of Treasury check

Description: Check
The table below describes where information is located on a U.S. Treasury check. The reference numbers correspond to the above sample.

  1. Issue Date
  2. Payee Name
  3. Fiscal Service Regional Financial Center
  4. Issue Type
  5. Check Symbol
  6. Check Serial Number
  7. Issue Amount

Description: MICR Line
The table below describes where information is located on the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) line. The reference letters correspond to the above sample.

  1. Check Symbol
  2. Check Digit
  3. Routing Number Unique to U. S. Treasury checks
  4. Check Serial Number
  5. Check Digit
  6. Federal Agency Code
  7. Issue Date (MM/YY)
  8. Paid Amount, if the financial institution encodes the amount

View security features of the Treasury Check PDF file (1.2 mb).

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