Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is an improper payment?
- Improper Payments occur when:
- funds go to the wrong recipient;
- the right recipient receives the incorrect amount of funds (including overpayments and underpayments);
- documentation is not available to support a payment; or
- the recipient uses funds in an improper manner.
2. Why does the federal government make improper payments?
Improper payments can happen for a number of reasons. It is important to identify the root causes of improper payments in order for agencies to detect and prevent improper payments. Do Not Pay (DNP) can help agencies identify some of the reasons improper payments are made.
While improper payments can have many causes, the federal government has categorized root causes of error into three categories for reporting purposes. The three categories are:
- Documentation and Administrative Errors:
The agency administering the program lacks supporting documentation necessary to verify the accuracy of the recipient’s claim for federal benefits. Errors in this category may be caused by incorrect inputting, classifying, or processing of applications or payments by a federal agency, state agency, or third party who is not the beneficiary.
- Authentication and Medical Necessity Errors:
The agency administering the program is unable to confirm that the recipient meets all of the requirements for receiving payment because the verifying information does not exist or is not accessible. Errors in this category may, for example, be caused by providing a service that was not medically necessary given a patient’s condition, such as providing a power wheelchair to a patient that does not need a wheelchair.
- Verification Errors:
Errors caused by the failure to verify recipient information, including earnings, income, assets, or work status, even though verifying information does exist and is accessible. These errors could also be due to beneficiaries failing to report correct information to an agency, such as an unemployment insurance beneficiary failing to notify the agency when he has returned to work and is no longer eligible for unemployment insurance payments.
3. What is Do Not Pay?
- The Do Not Pay Business Center, also known as DNP, was established by the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act (IPERIA) of 2012 to support federal agencies with their efforts to prevent and detect improper payments. DNP helps to ensure the integrity of our nation’s payment process.
- DNP offers a centralized system (the DNP Portal) that agencies can use at no cost.
- DNP will benefit any federal agency that enters into a financial transaction with a person or entity. DNP is NOT a list of entities or people that should not be paid. DNP provides many data sources in one place - which agencies can use to verify eligibility.
- DNP is committed to providing:
- more and better quality data
- continuous system development
- service enhancements
4. How will DNP help my agency reduce its improper payments?
As a multi-functional analytics tool and one-stop data shop, DNP allows agencies to check various data sources for pre-award, pre-payment eligibility verification, at the time of payment and any time in the payment lifecycle. It allows them to verify eligibility of a vendor, grantee, loan recipient, or beneficiary. This will help prevent, reduce, and stop improper payments, as well as prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.
5. Why should my agency use DNP?
Simply stated, the overall goal for the DNP initiative is two-fold: to help agencies achieve the Administration's goal of reducing improper payments while safeguarding the privacy of individuals.
DNP will help reduce the number of improper payments by providing agencies streamlined access to relevant data sources when evaluating pre-award, pre-payment eligibility verification process as well as anytime during the payment lifecycle.
6. Do I have to use DNP?
The Administration strongly encourages agencies to use DNP as part of their pre-award, pre-payment eligibility verification process as well as anytime during the payment lifecycle to determine eligibility before the release of any Federal funds. Using DNP can assist you with reducing the amount of improper payments.
7. Can individuals not associated with a government agency access DNP?
No, only individuals associated with a government agency will be able to enroll in the DNP Business Center.
8. How does an agency enroll in DNP?
View the Enrollment process.
9. What information do I need to be able to conduct a search in DNP?
In order to conduct an online search, an individual would enter one of the following combinations of search criteria.
- Social Security Number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
- SSN/EIN/TIN and Last Name
- SSN/EIN/TIN and Last Name and First Name
- Last Name and First Name
- Business Name or Doing Business As
- SSN/EIN/TIN and Business Name
- Business Name and Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and DUNS+4
- Business Name and DUNS
10. Will DNP tell me what to do if a match is found?
No, DNP will provide users with a summary of matches and the name of the data source where they were found. This information is intended to assist the agencies in determining payment eligibility based on the agency's internal policies and business processes. While DNP will not tell an agency whether or not to make a payment, it may help them identify anomalies and potential problems.
11. What is the difference between Online Search, Batch Matching and Continuous Monitoring?
Online Search capabilities allow for searching a single name or entity. A computer matching agreement (CMA) is not needed to match against Privacy Act protected (a.k.a. restricted) data sources for searching a single name or entity.
Batch Matching allows a comparison of an agency’s pre-award and pre-payment file; DNP matches files to available approved data sources and returns the results in the portal.
Continuous Monitoring allows an ongoing comparison of an agency’s file against all data sources they are authorized to access. For example, an agency may supply a file to DNP that will be compared to certain data sources any time the data sources are refreshed. This eliminates the need to repeatedly send in the same file to DNP and allows an agency to have the most up-to-date matches against their file. Any time the data source or agency file is updated, a comparison is made and the results are available in the portal.
Please note: A Computer Matching Agreement (CMA) may be needed to match against Privacy Act protected (a.k.a. restricted) data sources using batch matching or continuous monitoring functionality.
12. Do you have to search on all the data sources or can you select a specific source?
When you use Online Search, Batch Matching or Continuous Monitoring capabilities, a search will be performed on all the data sources to which you have been given access. There is no function which allows you to modify the data sources your agency searches against.
13. How often is the data in DNP updated?
Data sources are updated in different intervals depending on how often the data source
agency updates their files.
Contact 1-855-837-4391 if you have a question about a particular data source.
14. What data sources are available?
- Credit Alert System [SBA & VA] (CAIVRS),
- Death Master File (DMF), Public & Restricted [SSA]
- List of Excluded Individuals & Entities (LEIE), Public & Restricted [HHS]
- Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Public [Treasury]
- System for Award Management (SAM) Entity Registration Records
- (formerly known as Central Contractor Registration/CCR), Restricted [GSA]
- SAM Exclusion Records
- (referred to in IPERIA as Excluded Parties List System/EPLS) Public & Restricted [GSA]
15. What is the difference between a public and a restricted data source?
In the context of DNP, the term public and restricted does not distinguish between government and commercially owned data sources.
Public data sources are those available to members of the public via websites or other non-restricted means. Restricted data sources are not available to the public and house data sources that are protected by the Privacy Act.
Privacy Act protected systems are characterized by those records under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by a unique identifier (e.g., name, symbol, identifying particular assigned to an individual). Commercial data sources are not covered by the Privacy Act. Please see chart for further details and how these term are applied to the Death Master File, which maintains death data that is not protected by the Privacy Act.
16. What happens if the search returns information the customer considers incorrect?
View the Data Correction Process
17. Who can I contact if I need assistance with DNP?
Mail: DNP Support Center
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
PO Box 442
St. Louis, MO 63166
18. How can an agency request/suggest an enhancement to the DNP Business Center?
DNP welcomes all comments and suggestions. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
19. Under what authority was the DNP Business Center developed?
On June 18, 2010 the President issued an Executive Memorandum directing agencies to check a series of data sources prior to issuing a payment or award. Additionally, the memo called for the creation of a single point of entry to access these databases. The U.S. Department of the Treasury was directed by the Office of Management and Budget to take the lead in developing the single point of entry, or DNP.
20. What is a Computer Matching Agreement (CMA)?
A Computer Matching Agreement (CMA) is a written agreement that establishes the conditions, safeguards, and procedures under which a Federal agency agrees to disclose data where there is a computerized comparison of two or more automated System of Records (SORs).
21. Why do I need a CMA?
The Privacy Act of 1974 requires that federal agencies enter into computer matching agreements when (with some exceptions) an agency intends to conduct a computerized comparison of two or more automated federal systems of records.
The purpose of the computerized comparison is to establish or verify the eligibility of, or continue compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements by:
- applicants for,
- recipients or beneficiaries of,
- participants in, or
- providers of services with respect to:
cash or in-kind assistance or payments under Federal benefit programs