Guidance on Cashing and Accepting for Deposit Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Assistance Checks and Government Benefit Checks Issued by the U.S. Treasury; Hurricane Katrina, 55224 [05-18968]

Download as PDF 55224 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 181 / Tuesday, September 20, 2005 / Notices FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Fiscal Service Guidance on Cashing and Accepting for Deposit Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Assistance Checks and Government Benefit Checks Issued by the U.S. Treasury; Hurricane Katrina Financial Management Service, Fiscal Service, Treasury. SUMMARY: The Financial Management Service (FMS) is publishing additional guidance related to the cashing and accepting for deposit of U.S. Treasury checks for FEMA Disaster Assistance payments and Federal benefit payments (Treasury assistance and benefit checks), such as Social Security payments, to recipients who resided in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Depository institutions and retailers have experienced difficulty in confirming the identify of Hurricane Katrina evacuees seeking to cash Treasury checks. To encourage depository institutions and retailers to cash Treasury assistance and benefit checks for these individuals, FMS has established an interim policy to relieve depository institutions from liability in a reclamation action based on a forged or unauthorized indorsement. Under the interim policy, Treasury will relieve depository institutions from liability for cashing or subsequently accepting for deposit a Treasury assistance or benefit check bearing a forged or unauthorized indorsement, provided that the procedures set forth in the interim policy are followed. DATES: The interim policy is effective for any Treasury assistance or benefit check cashed on or after September 3, 2005 and through November 14, 2005. ADDRESSES: You can download this notice at the following World Wide Web address: http://fms.treas.gov/ katrina_fedregister_fema.html. AGENCY: VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:22 Sep 19, 2005 Jkt 205001 Ronald Cymbor, Director, Financial Processing Division, at 202 874–7913 or ronald.cymbor@fms.treas.gov; or Natalie H. Diana, Senior Counsel, at 202 874– 6680 or natalie.diana@fms.treas.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Depository institutions and other entities that cash or subsequently accept for deposit 1 U.S. Treasury checks are generally liable to Treasury for the amount of a check cashed over a forged or unauthorized indorsement. 31 CFR part 240. In order to ensure that Treasury checks have been properly indorsed by the payee, depository institutions and retailers typically request certain standard forms of identification from non-customers seeking to cash Treasury checks. However, in the extraordinary circumstances resulting from Hurricane Katrina, many individuals displaced from their homes and communities do not have standard forms of identification. Depository institutions and retailers have experienced difficulty in confirming the identity of Hurricane Katrina evacuees who are seeking to cash Treasury assistance and benefit checks. Treasury recognizes that it is critical that Hurricane Katrina evacuees be able to cash their Treasury assistance and benefit checks expeditiously and wishes to encourage depository institutions to assist evacuees in obtaining funds for their basic needs. Accordingly, Treasury has established an interim policy to relieve depository institutions from liability for cashing or subsequently accepting for deposit a Treasury assistance or benefit check containing a forged or unauthorized indorsement if 1 In this context, subsequently accepting a check for deposit pertains to the sequence of events by which a check is accepted for deposit by any number of depository institutions (after it is cashed by an individual) in order to present it to Treasury for payment. It does not refer to the depositing of a check by an individual. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 (1) the identify of the individual cashing the check was verified by calling a telephone number provided by the issuing agency for this purpose or (2) other prudent to identify the individual were made. Depository institutions and other entities should consider documenting their efforts to verify the identify of individuals. Interim Policy for U.S. Treasury Checks for FEMA Disaster Assistance Payments and Federal Benefit Payments to Recipients Who Resided in Areas Affected by Hurricane Katrina Under Treasury’s interim policy, a depository institution will be relieved from liability in a check reclamation action based on a forged or unauthorized indorsement of a Treasury assistance or benefit check if the identity of the individual is verified at the time the check is cashed either by calling a telephone number provided by the issuing agency for this purpose or by other prudent efforts. Prudent efforts depend upon the circumstances of each situation, but might include one or more of the following: seeking identification documents such as a driver’s license, military identification or passport; inspecting other documents such as utility bills, leases, or revolving charge bills; or comparing information provided by the individual to information obtained through electronic searches of consumer reporting agencies, public databases or other sources. This interim policy is effective for any Treasury assistance or benefit check cashed on or after September 3, 2005 and through November 14, 2005. Dated: September 19, 2005. Richard L. Gregg, Commissioner. [FR Doc. 05–18968 Filed 9–19–05; 1:28 pm] BILLING CODE 4810–35–M E:\FR\FM\20SEN3.SGM 20SEN3

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 181 (Tuesday, September 20, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Page 55224]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-18968]



[[Page 55223]]

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Part III





Department of the Treasury





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Fiscal Service



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Guidance on Cashing and Accepting for Deposit Federal Emergency 
Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Assistance Checks and Government 
Benefit Checks Issued by the U.S. Treasury; Hurricane Katrina; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 181 / Tuesday, September 20, 2005 / 
Notices

[[Page 55224]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Fiscal Service


Guidance on Cashing and Accepting for Deposit Federal Emergency 
Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Assistance Checks and Government 
Benefit Checks Issued by the U.S. Treasury; Hurricane Katrina

AGENCY: Financial Management Service, Fiscal Service, Treasury.

SUMMARY: The Financial Management Service (FMS) is publishing 
additional guidance related to the cashing and accepting for deposit of 
U.S. Treasury checks for FEMA Disaster Assistance payments and Federal 
benefit payments (Treasury assistance and benefit checks), such as 
Social Security payments, to recipients who resided in areas affected 
by Hurricane Katrina. Depository institutions and retailers have 
experienced difficulty in confirming the identify of Hurricane Katrina 
evacuees seeking to cash Treasury checks. To encourage depository 
institutions and retailers to cash Treasury assistance and benefit 
checks for these individuals, FMS has established an interim policy to 
relieve depository institutions from liability in a reclamation action 
based on a forged or unauthorized indorsement. Under the interim 
policy, Treasury will relieve depository institutions from liability 
for cashing or subsequently accepting for deposit a Treasury assistance 
or benefit check bearing a forged or unauthorized indorsement, provided 
that the procedures set forth in the interim policy are followed.

DATES: The interim policy is effective for any Treasury assistance or 
benefit check cashed on or after September 3, 2005 and through November 
14, 2005.

ADDRESSES: You can download this notice at the following World Wide Web 
address: http://fms.treas.gov/katrina_fedregister_fema.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ronald Cymbor, Director, Financial 
Processing Division, at 202 874-7913 or ronald.cymbor@fms.treas.gov; or 
Natalie H. Diana, Senior Counsel, at 202 874-6680 or 
natalie.diana@fms.treas.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Depository institutions and other entities 
that cash or subsequently accept for deposit \1\ U.S. Treasury checks 
are generally liable to Treasury for the amount of a check cashed over 
a forged or unauthorized indorsement. 31 CFR part 240. In order to 
ensure that Treasury checks have been properly indorsed by the payee, 
depository institutions and retailers typically request certain 
standard forms of identification from non-customers seeking to cash 
Treasury checks. However, in the extraordinary circumstances resulting 
from Hurricane Katrina, many individuals displaced from their homes and 
communities do not have standard forms of identification. Depository 
institutions and retailers have experienced difficulty in confirming 
the identity of Hurricane Katrina evacuees who are seeking to cash 
Treasury assistance and benefit checks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ In this context, subsequently accepting a check for deposit 
pertains to the sequence of events by which a check is accepted for 
deposit by any number of depository institutions (after it is cashed 
by an individual) in order to present it to Treasury for payment. It 
does not refer to the depositing of a check by an individual.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Treasury recognizes that it is critical that Hurricane Katrina 
evacuees be able to cash their Treasury assistance and benefit checks 
expeditiously and wishes to encourage depository institutions to assist 
evacuees in obtaining funds for their basic needs. Accordingly, 
Treasury has established an interim policy to relieve depository 
institutions from liability for cashing or subsequently accepting for 
deposit a Treasury assistance or benefit check containing a forged or 
unauthorized indorsement if (1) the identify of the individual cashing 
the check was verified by calling a telephone number provided by the 
issuing agency for this purpose or (2) other prudent to identify the 
individual were made. Depository institutions and other entities should 
consider documenting their efforts to verify the identify of 
individuals.

Interim Policy for U.S. Treasury Checks for FEMA Disaster Assistance 
Payments and Federal Benefit Payments to Recipients Who Resided in 
Areas Affected by Hurricane Katrina

    Under Treasury's interim policy, a depository institution will be 
relieved from liability in a check reclamation action based on a forged 
or unauthorized indorsement of a Treasury assistance or benefit check 
if the identity of the individual is verified at the time the check is 
cashed either by calling a telephone number provided by the issuing 
agency for this purpose or by other prudent efforts. Prudent efforts 
depend upon the circumstances of each situation, but might include one 
or more of the following: seeking identification documents such as a 
driver's license, military identification or passport; inspecting other 
documents such as utility bills, leases, or revolving charge bills; or 
comparing information provided by the individual to information 
obtained through electronic searches of consumer reporting agencies, 
public databases or other sources.
    This interim policy is effective for any Treasury assistance or 
benefit check cashed on or after September 3, 2005 and through November 
14, 2005.

    Dated: September 19, 2005.
Richard L. Gregg,
Commissioner.
[FR Doc. 05-18968 Filed 9-19-05; 1:28 pm]
BILLING CODE 4810-35-M