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Bureau of the Fiscal Service
Reference & Guidance

Section 1: Introduction

General Information


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

Payments affected

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


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

  • Check was presented for payment over a forged or unauthorized endorsement,
  • 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.

Table may scroll on smaller screens

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, and
  • Fiscal Service will only accept reclamation protests from presenting banks and not their customers or other correspondents.

Check Information

image of Treasury check
Check Description: MICR Line:
Where information is located Magnetic Ink Character Recognition Line
1. Issue Date A. Check Symbol
2. Payee Name B. Check Digit
3. Disbursing Office Location (Optional) C. Routing Number Unique to U. S. Treasury checks
4. Issue Type D. Check Serial Number
5. Check Symbol E. Check Digit
6. Check Serial Number F. Federal Entity Code
7. Issue Amount G. Issue Date (MM/YY)
  H. Paid Amount, if the financial institution encodes the amount

View security features of the Treasury Check

Note: Special messages may be included on the face of treasury checks, for specific payment types. These messages are for informational purposes only.

Last modified 07/16/21