You have not paid the amount you owe to the Department of Human Resources (DHR). This debt is for an over-issuance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. If you do not pay your debt or take other action described below before sixty (60) days from the date of this letter, the Central Collections Unit (CCU) will submit your debt to the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) for collection. Pursuant to the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (DCA), as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA), and applicable SNAP regulations we are authorized to add penalties, fees or other costs to your unpaid debt. Please note that the amount stated above is in addition to any other amount that may have already been previously submitted by us to Treasury. DHR previously mailed or otherwise delivered demand letters notifying you about the claim, including the right to a fair hearing on the claim, and has made any other required collection efforts. In addition to you having had an opportunity to request a fair hearing on the claim, the claim is:
- Equal to or exceeds the minimum amount established by Treasury, which is $25.00,
- Not included under an automatic stay due to bankruptcy;
- Not included under litigation; and
- Not currently being collected through allotment reduction or under a repayment plan approved by DHR or CCU.
Treasury collection: Once your debt is submitted, Treasury will reduce or withhold any of your eligible Federal payments by the amount of your debt and may refer your debt to private collection contractors, the Department of Justice, or seek voluntary repayment. Collection of debts by Treasury is authorized by the DCA and DCIA. You may not receive another notice before your payment is offset. Federal payments eligible for offset include:
- your income tax refunds, including any earned income tax credit payment you may be due (See attachment A for additional information);
- up to 15 % of your Federal salary pay, including military pay (See attachment A for additional information including how to request a waiver of this type of offset);
- up to 25 % of your Federal retirement;
- your military retirement pay;
- your contractor/vendor payments;
- other Federal payments, including loans to you, that are not exempt from offset.
If you receive monthly Federal payments, you should also know that the new law allows Treasury to withhold a limited amount of certain monthly Federal benefits, such as Social Security Retirement, Survivors and Disability benefits, Railroad Retirement (other than Tier 2) benefits, and Black Lung Part B benefits, to pay back the debt. You would be entitled to keep at least $750 per month or $9,000 per year of your federal payments. Treasury policies finalized September 1998 limit withholding to an amount that is up to 15% of your benefit payment. If you receive Supplement Security Income disability benefits (SSI) from the Social Security Administration, those benefits will not be withheld to pay back your debt.
Before we submit your debt to Treasury, we are required to tell you that you may (1) inspect and copy our records related to your debt; (2) request a review of the DHR determination that you owe this debt; and (3) enter into an acceptable written repayment agreement. In addition, the attachment to this letter provides important information if you and your spouse file a joint Federal income tax return.
To avoid having your debt referred to Treasury, you must do one of the following by 60 days from the date of this letter:
- Repay your debt: To repay your debt, send a check or money order, payable to the Central Collection Unit, for the full amount that you owe to the Central Collection Unit, 300 W. Preston St, 5th floor, Baltimore, MD 21201 .
- Agree to a repayment plan: If you are unable to pay your debt in full, you must contact Ms. Gwendolyn Frazier of DHR at 410-767-7318, agree to a repayment plan acceptable to DHR and/or CCU, and make payments required in the repayment plan.
- Request a review if you believe the debt is not owed: If you believe that all or part of the debt is not past due or legally enforceable, you must send evidence to support your position to Ms. Gwendolyn Frazier, Department of Human Resources, 311 W. Saratoga St, Baltimore, MD 21201. DHR will inform you of our decision about your debt within 30 days of the receipt of your request.
- Bankruptcy: If you filed for bankruptcy and the automatic bankruptcy stay is in effect, you are not subject to offset or other collection actions while the stay is in effect. Please notify CCU and DHR of the stay by sending evidence concerning the bankruptcy.
If you make or provide any knowingly false or frivolous statements, representations, or evidence, you may be liable for penalties under the False Claim Act (31 U.S.C 3729-3731), or other applicable statutes, and/or criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C 286, 287, 1001, and 1002, or other applicable statutes.
Unless prohibited by law or contract, we will promptly refund to you any amounts paid by you or deducted from your payment for your debt which are later waived or found not owed to the United States.
If you have any questions about this letter or your rights, you should contact Ms. Gwendolyn Frazier of DHR at 410-767-7318 Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
If you file a joint income tax return: If you file a joint income tax return and your spouse was not a member of the SNAP household at the time the over-payment occurred, you should contact the Internal Revenue Service before filing your return regarding the steps to take to protect the share of the income tax refund which may be payable to your spouse, who is not a delinquent debtor to the U. S. Government.
If you are a Federal employee: Your current net disposable pay is subject to offset if you do not pay your debt or take other action described above. Under the TOP, Treasury will deduct up to 15% of your disposable net pay beginning in the pay period that your debt is submitted for Federal salary or wage offset, and continue every pay period until your debt plus fees, penalties, or other cost is paid in full.
When you are identified through TOP as receiving a Federal salary or wage, you will be entitled to a hearing to dispute the existence or amount of the debt, or the amount of the payroll deduction. You will be provided information on where to file a written request for a hearing when you have been identified through TOP as receiving a Federal salary or wage.
The timely filing of a petition for hearing will stay the commencement of offset proceedings for Federal salary and wage offset; however, it will not stop offset of other types of Federal payments. A final decision on the hearing (if one is requested) will be issued no later the 60 days after the filing of a petition requesting the hearing (unless extended by the hearing official).
As a Federal employee, if you make or provide any knowingly false or frivolous statements, representations, or evidence, in addition to other penalties, you may be subject to disciplinary actions.