All cashier’s checks and money orders credited to an offender’s OBS trust account will be deposited locally and credited to the 700 Fund following normal CORE depository processes within one business day of OBS posting. Business staff will record the check number related to that deposit in the Source Doc. # field of the OBS “Offender Income/Payroll Entry” screen.
CORE deposit numbers are unique in OBS and cannot be used twice. Business staff will first credit the amount of the individual deposit into OBS associated with the correct offender’s account. Each OBS recorded deposit is assigned its own unique receipt number associated with that facility’s location. Offender money orders will be batched and deposited at the facilities local bank prior to being entered into CORE. When a CORE deposit number has been assigned to the deposit users will then associate that deposit number to its’ OBS receipt number(s) through the “Report of Deposit Creation” screen.
Voiding CORE Deposits in OBS
The voiding of a CORE deposit number to correct an entry error in OBS requires users to contact the department’s Finance and Accounting office for assistance. Incorrect CORE deposits entered into OBS will be voided using the “Report of Deposit Information” screen. User’s will select “Print Detail” and print a copy of the proposed deposit cancellation prior to selecting “Cancel Deposit.”
Re-entering Void DP Numbers
An OBS deposit that has been voided in CORE will require a facility to re-enter the corrected deposit in CORE, get a new CORE deposit number, and then re-assign the new CORE deposit number to the appropriate OBS receipt numbers using the “OBS Report of Deposit Creation” screen. Users must enter the date of the original OBS deposits to locate the correct “receipt numbers” to assign to the new deposit number.
• Users must ensure that the CORE deposit totals and their associated OBS receipts number totals balance.
OBS Deposit Slips
A legible and fully completed OBS deposit slip (Attachment B) can be used (once implemented through policy) for the deposit of all cashier’s checks and money orders into an offender’s account. Exceptions to the use of the OBS deposit slip are limited to income from work release payroll (private sector pay) or settlement award source income.
Funds received through the mail from outside sources must be received in the form of a certified check or money order. Personal checks or cash sent via the mail will be returned to the sender and not credited to an offender’s account. Any funds received from offender visitors will be in the form of a cashiers’ check or money order if accepted at the facility. Make sure the offender’s name, DOC# and the senders name are on the money order or cashier’s check or it will be returned to the sender.
When funds are recorded in the offender’s account the facility can ‘date-stamp’ the attached deposit slip, if used, and give that to the offender as a record of the deposit being recorded into their account.
Failure to Include OBS Deposit Slip
If funds are received without an OBS deposit slip, or the deposit slip is only partially filled out, and/or lacking information; the funds will be deposited into the offender’s account as usual.
Outside Source Deposits Over $500
The facility head or designee will be notified whenever funds received for deposit into an offender’s account exceed $500.00 (the only exception to this requirement is private sector payroll checks for offenders in work release status). The Fund Source Type of “Hold for 15 Days” will be selected by the person crediting the offender’s account for the deposit if the deposit is not readily identified (i.e. sale of property, succession proceeds, or immediate family). Early system release of this hold using the OBS system may be accomplished through the “Offender Outstanding Negotiable Instrument Manager” screen to immediately release the funds to the offender’s draw account once the facility head or designee has approved the deposit.
If the facility head or designee has not released to the offender’s draw account within three days of initial deposit, the offender will be notified in writing by the facility head or designee of the reason for the hold. If an investigation into the nature of these funds and the purpose of the deposit is not completed within the fifteen day hold period, the offender will be afforded a hearing with the facility head or designee.
When an offender is suspected of having a significant deposit broken out into smaller amounts to avoid the $500 limit restriction business office staff can research the concern by running the “Offender Source Income Report” and selecting the date range and income types where the concern exists.
Institution Incentive Pay Program
Offender gang-pay will be calculated and paid in accordance with OP-060107 “Systems of Incarceration.” Gang-pay will be credited by OBS through the overnight system process at the end of each month to all eligible offenders based upon the information reflected on the Offender’s Account Maintenance screen. It is imperative Trust Fund Officers validate offender gang-pay information using the “Offender Work Assignment Report” for all offenders residing at their facility no later than the 25th of each month. Business staffs are encouraged to run this report a second time just prior to the end of the month to ensure accuracy of data.
OBS gang pay posting is based on the offender’s OMS level status at the end of the month and information recorded on the OBS Offender Maintenance screen. If an offender is discharged prior to month end gang pay will not be paid to the offender by the system. If an offender changes pay rates during the month the pay rate utilized in OBS for that month’s pay calculation will be the level rate of the offender as the recorded in OMS at end of the month – regardless of effective OMS level change date.
Offenders should not be paid both OCI/Agri-services pay and gang pay during the same monthly pay cycle.
Offenders working for OCI or Agri-Services will be batch paid by OBS within five working days of the ending pay cycle through the Electronic Income Entry process based upon their OCI/Agri-Services computed pay rate. OCI and Agri-Services accounting will upload into OBS a data file listing all eligible offender DOC numbers and Pay Amount no later than the 20th of the month. The OBS system automatically, through an electronic income import process, calculates the statutory savings requirement of 20 percent and applies system appropriate auto-deductions.
Certified payroll invoices will be forward to OCI/Agri-Services by facility business office staff during the month end payroll certification process. Business staff should be mindful of inmate transfers since they can be responsible for OCI/Agri-services payroll certifications for inmates who may have transferred into their facility during the month.
If a manual payroll correction is required due to a system entry error, the correction must be for the net difference. Manual payroll corrections entered after a month’s payroll has been certified and invoiced will automatically become part of the next month’s payroll certification.
Construction/Maintenance and Asbestos Crews
Offenders working on construction/maintenance and asbestos crews will be batch paid by Operational Services accounting within five working days of the ending pay cycle through the Electronic Income Entry process based upon their computed pay rate. The OBS system automatically, through an electronic income import process, calculates the statutory savings requirement of 20 percent and applies system appropriate auto-deductions.
Certified payroll invoices will be processed by the facility business manager and forwarded to Operational Services accounting for payment. Facility business staff should be mindful of inmate transfers since they can be responsible for payroll certifications for inmates who have transferred into their facility during the month.
If a manual payroll correction is required due to an entry error, the correction will be for the net difference. A manual payroll correction entered after a month’s payroll has been certified and invoiced will automatically become part of the next month’s payroll certification.
Manual Payroll Corrections
A manual payroll correction may be required when an Offender’s Account Maintenance screen values are not correct at the time of month end gang pay processing or the result of an incorrect upload of OCI, Agri-services, and/or Construction/Maintenance electronic payroll.
When a manual correction is required the facility business manager must be able to explain the reason for the correction. If the correction is due to incorrect offender maintenance values, the business manager must document the reason for the error and keep a copy of this justification for review by internal audit staff.
Positive Payroll Corrections
A positive pay correction for the net difference can be credited to the offender’s account through either an electronic income upload or manual payroll income entry depending upon the payroll type. A positive payroll correction, when entered after that month’s payroll has already been certified will automatically become part of the next month’s payroll certification.
Negative Payroll Corrections
Negative corrections can be accomplished through the “Void Offender Income” screen. The user will select the appropriate income entry to void. Voiding an offender income transaction can take an offender’s available balance into ‘negative balance.’
If an individual withdrawal check is pending an OBS error message will be shown. If an OBS error message is received, the user must create an offender obligation using the Withdrawal Type “Institutional Debt.” Staff will enter into the “Source Doc. #” field GANG PAY RECAP and enter into both the “Original Amount Owed” and “Max Monthly Limit” fields the net amount of program payroll to be recaptured. The comments field will be used to explain the reason for the obligation.
Recapture of gang pay, OCI/Agri-services or Construction/Maintenance payroll overpayment through the obligation creation approach will result in the overpayment being recaptured however the payroll payment recaptured will be returned to the department’s 200 Fund and not the facility’s/unit’s budget. Facility business managers are authorized to set an obligation recapture deduction percentage against future account deposits to any reasonable percentage and recapture time if the payroll recapture will impose an undue hardship on the offender. Since auto-deductions were applied to the incorrect payroll, recapture of that payroll over payment should be for the full amount and not the net amount credited to the offender’s available balance.
The OBS system automatically calculates and deducts a statutory savings requirement of 20 percent as defined by O.S. 57, sec. 549, paragraph 5. Statutory savings are only deducted from offender payroll – whether entered through a batch process or manually through the “Offender Income/Payroll Entry” screen. The statutory twenty percent deduction is a maintenance value in the OBS system and can be adjusted if statute changes.
Impact of Pay Corrections on Statutory Savings
If errors are made during OBS batch processing of payroll because of incorrect Offender Account Maintenance screen values, the facility trust fund officer will correct the error as described under payroll corrections. Trust fund officers, when making a negative payroll correction, may have to transfer from the offender’s mandatory savings to the offender’s available balance, any appropriate adjustment resulting from the erroneous payroll posting. Each situation will be evaluated individually based upon the circumstances of the erroneous posting and the correction approach required.
Work Release and PIE Private Sector Pay
Work release and PIE payroll crediting will only be done at the time of private payroll payment receipt. Work release and PIE payroll does not create an account receivable for the facility and therefore will not be credited to an offender’s account until such funds are actually received.
Offenders assigned to work release programs or facility Private Industry Enhancement (PIE) programs are required to pay program support fees. The staff member entering the private sector payroll check will credit the offender(s)’s account using the OBS “Offender Income/Payroll Entry” screen.” Staff will select a “Fund Source Type” of Work Release or PIE Program as appropriate and select an “Income Type” of Private Sector Pay.
The Source Doc# field will be used to enter the check number. The Pay Area field will be used to enter the date of the private sector pay check. The Comments field of the screen will be use to record any relevant additional information.
Program support fees are automatically computed based on income type by OBS and are the lesser of 50% of the net wages (defined as gross pay less taxes and employer paid child support) or the number of applied payroll days times the community based per diem rate. The system automatically calculates the statutory savings requirement of 20 percent and applies remaining funds to the auto deduction process for existing obligations.
Work Release Payroll Checks Over $500
Offenders in work release status who receive a private sector payroll check in excess of $500 can immediately have their account credited to for the payroll check. Business office personnel are not required to place any hold on these checks pending supervisory approval since they are payroll related.
Suspect Private Sector Payroll Checks
If it is suspected that an offender has contacted a work release employer and convinced them to cancel a payroll check that has already been deposited into OBS with program support fee reductions taken, the facility business office will notify their District Supervisor of the offender’s action. District Supervisors are responsible for follow-up, corrective action and requesting internal affairs investigation if required.
When the validity of an employer check is questioned at time of crediting the offender’s account, staff should select a “Fund Source Type” of either Hold for 7 Days or Hold for 15 Days and an “Income Type” of Private Sector Pay. Placing a hold on crediting the offender’s account for the check will allow normal program support, mandatory savings and any obligation auto-deductions to occur after the check has been confirmed as a valid negotiable financial instrument. After the check has been confirmed as a “valid check” facility business staff will release the hold by going to the “Offender Outstanding Negotiable Instrument Manager” screen and release the check.
Facilities may want to consider placing an “OBS hold” on an offender’s final private sector payroll check to ensure the offender is not asking his/her employer to cancel the original check and reissue a new one. This should only be done by facility staff after coordination with their District Supervisor.
Returned Private Sector Payroll Checks
If an offender’s account has been credited with a private sector payroll deposit and the deposit is subsequently reversed in the CORE system due to insufficient funds or employer cancelled check, the facility business manager will (if possible) reverse the offender’s account crediting this deposit using the “Void Offender Income” screen.
If voiding the income entry is not possible, due to the deposit being tied to a CORE deposit ID number, staff will contact central finance and accounting to discuss the issue. When possible staff will redeem the returned private sector payroll check (see “Bank Buy Errors” – this user’s guide) and as appropriate notify the department’s General Counsel, their District Supervisor, and Community Work Release and/or PIE Program Manager of the returned employer payroll check.
Staff should research the reason for the cancelled check. If the reason for the returned check is due to the offender requesting the employer to cancel the original check and reissue a new check, then a technical violation has occurred and every reasonable attempt will be made to require the offender to reimburse the department for the entire value of the returned private sector check so that appropriate OBS auto-deduction processes can occur. If the offender has already been released and is in supervised status, the business manager will contact the offender’s probation and parole officer to coordinate the collection of the private sector payroll check.
If the reason for the returned private sector payroll check is due to the employer not having sufficient funds to honor the check, the employer should be contacted and expected to reimburse the department for the cost of the returned check. When petty cash is used to redeem a returned private sector employer payroll check from a private bank, the payroll debt (and all associated costs) are then debts owed to the department.
1. The Deputy Director of Community Corrections should be notified when an offender action I suspected of causing an OBS entered private sector payroll check to not be honored by a banking institution.
2. The General Counsel will work with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to seek restitution from the Work Release or PIE program employers when a check issue by that employer is returned for ‘insufficient funds.’ The Deputy Director of Community Corrections will be notified when an employer check is returned for insufficient funds.
3. When notified of a returned private sector payroll check due to insufficient funds, Community Work Release Program managers and/or PIE Program managers will place the private sector employer on a watch list and promptly contact the department’s General Counsel and their senior management for guidance and coordination.
4. If a Private Sector employer has more than two returned employer paychecks within a six month period that private sector employer will be prohibited from employing department offenders.
5. At all times the OBS 700 fund will be made whole through either a reversing entry (if possible) or through the check redemption process.
Payroll Certification and Payments
Monthly Gang /OCI /Agri-services/Construction Maintenance Payroll Certification
Payroll certification is used to create an invoice and associated invoice number for the payment of accounts receivable related to the various department offender incentive pay programs. By the 5th working day of the following month each facility business managers must certify payroll in the OBS system for each department fund payroll program (Gang pay, Construction/Maintenance, OCI, and Agri-Services) associated with their facility. Payroll certification creates an invoice which is to be verified and signed by the facility business manager and then forward to central office for invoice payment.
Offender Payroll Log Report
Use the “Offender Payroll Log” report under Offender Income reports to identify the payroll types to certify. Be sure to review prior month payroll periods to ensure any manual payroll correction is not overlooked. Leave the Income Type field blank when running this report to identify all payroll types requiring certification.
Gang Pay Invoices
Gang pay invoices will be forwarded to the central office Claims Processing Unit on a normal transmittal form for payment within 10 business days of certification.
OCI/Agri-services/Construction Maintenance Invoices
OCI/Agri-services/Construction Maintenance units are to certify their own payroll invoices for each work location and send the certified invoices to central office claims processing for payment within 10 business days of certification.
Work Release/PIE Program Payroll
Business managers do not certify monthly Work Release/Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIE) payrolls. The payroll certification and its respective invoice need not be forwarded to Central Office for payment since payments are receipted and entered into both CORE and OBS by the facility at time of offender account crediting without an account receivable being created.
Payment of Payroll Invoices
All payroll invoices forwarded to Central Finance and Accounting claims processing unit should be processed within 30 days of certified invoice receipt. When the invoice and warrant are received the payment will be entered into OBS using the “Payroll Receipt Entry” screen. Payroll type, payroll month, calendar year, associated invoice number and warrant amount associated with the certified payroll invoice will be entered into this screen.
Void Payroll Receipt Entry
The “Void Payroll Receipt Entry” screen will be used to reverse an incorrectly entered payroll receipt.
Reprinting of Payroll Certification Invoices
Payroll certification invoices can be re-printed using the “Offender Pay/Work Project Claim Certification” report under Income Reports. Before using this report users will need to know the “payroll certification invoice #” for the certified payroll amount. This can be obtained by running the “Offender Payroll Log” report under Income Reports.
State Disability Compensation Benefits
Correct handling of state disability benefit awards for incarcerated offenders requires business staff to fully understand several complex statutory requirements. Oklahoma law requires any employee convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and sentenced to a term of incarceration of at least ninety (90) days in this state or in any other jurisdiction to have all benefits for “temporary total disability” awarded by the Workers’ Compensation Court forfeited by order of the Court on motion of the employer or the employer’s insurer after confirmation of the employee’s incarceration. The Court also may order the forfeiture of such benefits on its own motion upon receipt of notice from the Director of the Department of Corrections that the person awarded the benefits is incarcerated as an offender in a facility operated by or under contract with the Department.
The above provisions do not apply to disability benefits awarded to an offender for compensable injuries sustained by the offender while in the employ of a private for-profit employer during their period of incarceration – such as a PIE program or work release offender injury award (O.S. 85 section 22, paragraph 13a).
Disability benefits paid to offenders while incarcerated for Permanent Total and Temporary Partial disability for injuries sustained prior to their period of incarceration are to have those award benefits deposited into their account – but those awards must go “in full” to the department to support their cost of incarceration.
Temporary Disability Awards for Offender Injuries Sustained Not In Work Release or PIE Program Status
All Oklahoma awarded workers' compensation benefits received for temporary total disability by an offender with an incarceration sentence of at least 90 days will have those benefits forfeited by order of the court. The facility receiving the temporary total disability benefit check will notify the court or the insurer issuing the check that the recipient is incarcerated and seek guidance on how to return the disability payment.
Temporary Total Disability Awards for Offender Injuries Sustained While in Work Release and PIE Program Status
Oklahoma awarded workers' compensation benefits received for temporary total disability by an offender with an incarceration sentence of at least 90 days will have qualifying benefits deposited into the 700 Fund and credited to their OBS account.
Qualifying Benefits and Authorized Deductions
Disability payment benefits paid for a injury sustained while incarcerated for which a disability benefit is awarded are not subject to forfeiture under state guidelines if the benefit payment is the result of an injury sustained by an “offender” while working for a private sector employer. State statue says: (O.S. 85 section 22, paragraph 13a).
“Any employee convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and sentenced to a term of incarceration of at least ninety (90) days in this state or in any other jurisdiction shall have all benefits for temporary total disability awarded by the Workers’ Compensation Court forfeited by order of the Court on motion of the employer or the employer’s insurer after confirmation of the employee’s incarceration. The Court also may order the forfeiture of such benefits on its own motion upon receipt of notice from the Director of the Department of Corrections that the person awarded the benefits is incarcerated as an inmate in a facility operated by or under contract with the Department. The provisions of this subparagraph shall not apply to any benefits awarded to an inmate for compensable injuries sustained by the inmate while in the employ of a private for-profit employer or while employed in private prison industries, involving a for-profit employer, which deal in interstate commerce or which sell products or services to the federal government.”
However, the disability payment is subject to a program support deduction (O.S. 57, section 549).
Eligible Benefit Deposit Procedures
Staff must first determine whether the temporary disability benefit award is related to an injury sustained by the offender while incarcerated and in the employ of a private for-profit employer or while employed in private prison industries, involving a for-profit employer, which deal in interstate commerce or which sell products or services to the federal government. Normally “a qualifying injury award” requires the offender to have sustained the injury for which the award is for while employed in a PIE program or on work release.
The other issue involved here is the amount of deduction for program support. O.S. 57, section 549, requires:
“B. The State Board of Corrections shall cause to be placed in an account income from the inmate’s employment and any other income or benefits accruing to or payable to and for the benefit of said inmate, including any workers’ compensation or Social Security benefits.
1. From this account the State Board of Corrections may charge for costs of incarceration any inmate working in private prison industries or any other inmate for costs of incarceration not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of any deposits made to said account, unless said deposits were from a workers’ compensation benefit.
2. From this account, the State Board of Corrections may charge any inmate for costs of incarceration, an amount equivalent to one hundred percent (100%) of any deposits from a workers’ compensation benefit to said account.”
However, prior trust fund policy and department business practices required: “All Oklahoma awarded workers' compensation benefits received by an inmate as a result of injury while employed in a private prison industry will be deposited into statutory savings and will not be drawn upon until the inmate discharges.”
Since Title 57 uses the term “may” for the cost of incarceration deduction and prior policy had the award deposited into the offender’s statutory savings, this guide takes the position that to meet these conflicting requirements business staff when crediting the offender’s OBS account for the award deposit will:
1. Review the offender’s current available balance and mandatory savings balance to confirm beginning account balances before making any changes.
2. Credit the offender’s account using the Offender Income/Payroll Entry screen in OBS and select for “income source” the drop down option of “State Disability Check” and for “income type” the drop down option of “Private Sector Pay.” Selecting this income type will ensure the amount deducted for program support is consistent with other program support deductions taken for offender pay in OBS.
3. After the offender’s account is credited for the disability check deposit, the staff person entering the deposit will select Offender Accounts and the Offender Savings Manager screen and transfer from the offender’s available balance an amount equal to the net amount of the State Disability Check after the program support deduction (the net increase in the offender’s account available balance) to the offenders mandatory savings account.
Permanent Total and Temporary Partial Disability Worker’s Compensation Benefits
Oklahoma Statues require that benefit awards for permanent total disability or temporary partial disability awarded by the Workers’ Compensation Court and paid during the period of incarceration be deposited to the credit of an account established pursuant to O.S. 57, section 549 of the Oklahoma Statutes for distribution to the Department of Corrections for costs of incarceration (O.S. 85, section 22, paragraph 13b). State law says:
“Any employee convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and sentenced to a term of incarceration of at least ninety (90) days in this state shall have all benefits for permanent total disability or temporary partial disability awarded by the Workers’ Compensation Court and paid during the period of incarceration deposited to the credit of an account established pursuant to Section 549 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes for distribution in full to the Department of Corrections for costs of incarceration. The State Board of Corrections shall have the power to collect workers’ compensation benefits on behalf of the prisoner as provided in this subparagraph and to distribute the benefits as provided by law.”
Qualifying Benefits and Authorized Deductions
Workers' compensation benefits received for permanent total disability and temporary partial disability by an offender with an incarceration sentence of at least 90 days will be deposited into the 700 Fund through normal CORE deposit processes. However, in this situation, state law is very clear that money deposited to the offender’s account is to be distributed in full for costs of incarceration.
Eligible Benefit Deposit Procedures
To accomplish statutory requirements for crediting the offender’s OBS account for this type of workers’ compensation benefit and then transferring that deposit to the department for cost of incarceration business staff will:
1. Credit the offender’s account through the use of the Offender Income/Payroll Entry screen in OBS. When using this screen OBS staff will select for “income source” the drop down option of “State Disability Check” and for “income type” the drop down option of “private sector pay.” Following this process will allow OBS to automatically compute a cost of incarceration computation (program support) that is equal to the cost of incarceration charged offenders in work release/PIE program status.
2. After the offender’s account is credited for the deposit, the staff person entering the disability deposit will then under Offender Accounts select the Offender Withdrawal screen and do a withdrawal from the offender’s available balance for an amount equal to the net amount of the State Disability Check after the first cost of incarceration fee deduction (the net increase in offender’s available balance after the Disability Check deposit). The withdrawal type will be “Program Fees.” Using the program fee withdrawal code will have the funds paid to the department’s 200 Fund.
Social Security Benefits
Social Security payments received by offenders will be returned to the issuing Social Security regional office with a memorandum stating the recipient is incarcerated and the beginning date of the incarceration. Facility business managers can contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 for questions or assistance.
Department of Veterans Affairs Payments
The Department of Veterans Affairs can award certain benefits to honorably discharged or retired veterans who are subsequently incarcerated in a Federal, state or local penal institution. However, the amounts paid to the veteran depend on the type of benefit and reason for incarceration. Facility business managers will contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-827-1000 when a VA check is received to confirm the nature of the benefit and the offender’s continuing eligibility to receive the VA benefit. Generally, there are two types of VA issued checks.
VA Disability Compensation Checks
Disability compensation for a military retiree is based on a VA evaluated disability exam and hearing which then can then result in a VA rated disability percentage at time of retirement from the military. This rated disability percentage can change after military retirement when the offender’s medical condition changes and the change has been evaluated by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
• Monthly VA disability compensation payments are required by law to be reduced by the Department of Veterans Affairs beginning with the 61st day of imprisonment for a felony. If the VA disability compensation payment going to an offender was originally based on a disability rating of greater than 10%; the new compensation payment amount will be reduced to a 10% disability compensation rate. If the offender was already being paid disability compensation at the 10% rate before being imprisoned, the new payment will be one-half of the 10% rate. Business office staffs are encouraged to identify the offender’s actual VA disability percentage rating to assist them in identifying allowable amounts. A VA award letter should be sought to confirm the offender’s actual disability percentage.
Example of typical VA disability reductions are:
• If the VA disability compensation payment before imprisonment was $201 or more (greater than a 10% disability rating), the new payment amount should be around $104 (depending upon current VA disability compensation amounts which are adjusted annually).
• If the offender had a 10% disability rating and was receiving $104 before imprisonment, the new payment should be around $52.00.
Veterans on Work Release or Halfway House Status
Veterans are eligible to have their full VA disability compensation benefits payments reinstated upon assignment to a work release program or upon assignment to a halfway house. Offenders need to contact their regional VA office for assistance when they become re-eligible for full VA disability compensation.
VA Pension Benefit Checks
Veterans discharged from the service with an honorable discharge and meet certain age, disability and income requirements are awarded a VA Pension Benefit. However, offenders imprisoned in a Federal, State or local penal institution as the result of conviction of a felony or misdemeanor, are no longer eligible to receive those VA pension benefits after the 61st day of imprisonment following conviction.
When a facility business manager has confirmed a VA check received by an offender is a VA pension benefit, the business manager will work with the VA office to resolve how to handle the check and ensure the VA does not continue to send these benefit payments to the offender.
VA pension benefit checks will not be deposited into OBS.
VA Benefit Dependent Apportionment
The VA can take all or part of the amount of compensation an offender is normally eligible to receive. The benefit can be reduced or forfeited due to incarceration and/or apportioned to the offender’s spouse, child or children and/or dependent parents on the basis of individual need. Offenders should be encouraged to have family members contact the nearest VA regional office to apply for VA benefit apportionment. Business office staff and case managers are encouraged to assist offenders and their family members to seek this financial assistance when appropriate.
The department Parent Canteen Board, when approving the annual Offender/Staff Welfare and Canteen Support budget, may designate a seasonal bonus for distribution to offenders in December or January. This seasonal bonus, when paid, is not subject to any automatic deductions.
OBS system managers will invoice the 205 Fund for the cost of the seasonal bonus payment. Seasonal bonus invoices will be paid by facility business managers from their Offender/Staff Welfare and Canteen Support budget within 30 days of invoicing.
O.S. 57, section 566.1 prescribes when an offender receives a settlement award the award shall be first used to satisfy offender’s obligations in the following order: The OBS “Offender Settlement Award Entry” screen ensures these statutory priorities and requirements are met.
1. Any previous assessments of court costs or fines involving the criminal convictions of the offender;
2. Victims compensation assessments;
3. Restitution awards;
4. Probation or parole fees;
5. Child support or alimony;
6. Civil judgments; and
7. Any deficiencies of debts not paid of which the state or the Department of Corrections has notice by judgment, lien, garnishment, or other appropriate process.
8. After disbursement of the funds by the state or the Department of Corrections, twenty percent (20%) of the award shall be placed in the offender's mandatory savings account and the remainder shall be placed in the offender's regular draw account.
By statute the department is granted a reasonable time to review and discover all outstanding debts of the inmate. It is required to disburse the award to all outstanding debtors of the inmate within six (6) months notification of the final court order or award settlement agreement.
Any award money deposited into an offender’s account pending legal review from settlement proceeds will be immediately encumbered in OBS by selecting a Fund Source Type of ‘Settlement Award’ to prevent the offender from using these funds until a distribution plan has been coordinated with the General Counsel’s office. The General Counsel’s office will be provided a copy of all OBS tracked offender obligations and identify additional offender obligations not currently recorded in the OBS system. OBS users will enter into the system all newly identified obligations associated with the settlement award distribution plan. After all offender obligations are identified and entered into OBS the General Counsel distribution plan of the award settlement will be processed.
Encumbrance of Settlement Award
Settlement award proceeds when deposited into OBS will be immediately encumbered. Encumbered funds will not be released for distribution until the General Counsel’s office has provided their distribution plan.
When an award distribution plan is released by the General Counsel’s office:
1. OBS staff will ensure all required award distribution obligations are established in OBS using the Offender Obligation Manager screen to create newly identified offender obligations.
2. Staff will then release those previously encumbered funds and immediately withdraw those funds for re-deposit into OBS.
It is critically important that actual award distributions be accomplished using the Offender Settlement Award Entry screen. Use of this screen for settlement distributions will override any system defined monthly distribution limits so that all statutory rules are system enforced.
When using the Settlement Award Entry screen staff will:
1. Select the obligation(s) which will have settlement proceeds distributed and enter into the User Allocation Amount field the amount that the General Counsel has determined to be applied to a particular obligation and then select “update.”
2. Only when all distribution plan criteria have been satisfied and entered will the user select “save.”
3. Any excess settlement proceeds will first have the 20% mandatory savings applied and with any remaining balances then applied to the offender’s available fund balance.
4. Amounts posted to the offender’s available balance are subject to system auto-deduction rules.