Frequently Asked Questions
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.
The law creating the Judgment Fund has been codified at 31 U.S.C. § 1304.
No. The Judgment Fund may not be used to pay an award if another source of funds is legally available to make that payment.
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 2006 through FY 2019 on the Judgment Fund Payment Search page.
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.
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.
The Judgment Fund Branch in the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) of the United States Department of the Treasury administers 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.
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.
Agencies may submit requests for payments from the Judgment Fund electronically through the Judgment Fund Internet Claims System.
The Judgment Fund Internet Claims System (JFICS) has a 10-character limit in the payment amount field. Therefore, if the claim you’re submitting is for $100 million or more, you’ll need to break the total amount into smaller components, none of which may exceed $99,999,999.99. You’ll submit each of these components into JFICS as a separate claim using the same claim information for each component. Each of these components will be assigned the same control number.
The website displays information from our Judgment Fund Internet Claims System (JFICS), which has a 10-character limit in the payment amount field. When an agency submits a claim for $100 million or more, JFICS requires that the claim be broken down into smaller components, which are linked together by the same control number, date, and agency. To determine the total amount of a claim, simply add together the components having the same control number.
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 Fiscal Service TIN Policy, which may be found on our website at: Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
Fiscal Service 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.
Yes, separate and apart from its role as administrator of the Judgment Fund, Fiscal Service, in its role as chief disbursing officer for the executive branch, offsets Judgment Fund payments to collect delinquent, nontax Federal debts through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP). For more information, visit the Offsets page.
No, Fiscal Service does not report Judgment Fund payments as potential taxable income to the IRS. It's the responsibility of the agency submitting the payment request to issue a Form 1099, if one is needed.
The preferred method for Judgment Fund payments is by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Fiscal Service 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.
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.
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 are required.