The Denial of Federal Benefits (DFB) Program provides state and federal courts—as part of the sentencing process—with the ability to deny all or selected federal benefits to individuals who are convicted of drug trafficking or drug possession. Examples of benefits denied include (1) business owners losing Small Business Administration loans or the right to contract with the Federal Government, (2) researchers losing eligibility to apply for grants, (3) broadcasters or pilots losing Federal Communications Commission or Federal Aviation Administration licenses, and (4) doctors losing the authority to prescribe medicine.The DFB sanction can be imposed in combination with other sanctions, and courts have the option to deny all or some benefits and determine the length of the denial period based on the nature of the crime. When denial of benefits is part of a sentence, the sentencing court notifies the BJA Denial of Federal Benefits Program Clearinghouse, which in turn informs the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). GSA publishes the names of individuals who are denied benefits in the System for Award Management (SAM).
See an Overview of the program.
Access a table of benefits that may be denied.LegislationThe Denial of Federal Benefits Program was established under Section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-690).
Information for IndividualsIf you have been convicted of a drug offense and would like to know if your federal benefits have been denied, you must review your sentencing documents and contact your attorney with any questions you may have.Also see:
Important Note: The clearinghouse does not determine who is placed on the Debarment List nor does it have any control over the length of the debarment period. The Clearinghouse simply records debarment actions, based on information provided by the sentencing courts. Modifications to the debarment period can only be made upon a written order from the sentencing court.
This program does not offer any funding.
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The DFB Users Guide is available at: https://dfb.bja.ojp.gov/jsp/docs/guides/Judicial_Participant_User_Guide.pdf.
If you are interested in receiving training, we can host a webinar to explain the program, its elibility requirements and the debarment process.
Please call 202-598-2000 to schedule an appointment.
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History of the Program Establishment Under the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 The Denial of Federal Benefits for Drug Offenders (DFB) Program, established under Section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-690), codified at Title 21, U.S. Code, Section 862, provides state and federal courts with the ability to deny all or selected federal benefits to individuals convicted of drug trafficking or drug possession. This law provides an additional tool to punish drug offenders. The program allows the court, at its discretion, to exempt convicted individuals from certain benefits, such as public housing, welfare, and drug treatment, and from earned benefits such as retirement and Social Security and health, disability, and veterans assistance. Among those benefits courts can deny are student financial aid; small business loans; media and transportation licenses; medical, engineering, scientific, and academic research grants; and contracts and purchase orders issued by federal agencies or those who use federally appropriated monies. The court, at its discretion, may also restore denied benefits for those who successfully complete drug rehabilitation programs or for other reasons. The President Asks the U.S. Department of Justice To Form Clearinghouse On August 30, 1989, President George Bush issued a communication to Congress that described the procedures for implementing the program and restricted the program's application to convictions occurring on or after September 1, 1989. The President charged the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with establishing a clearinghouse for all sentences imposed under this law and notifying state courts. General supervision and direction was subsequently delegated to the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). On November 30, 1989, sentencing guidelines for federal courts were amended to reflect denial of benefits as an option. All state supreme courts and state court administrators were advised of the program in a letter dated January 26, 1990, from OJP's AAG. This announcement was followed on September 11, 1990, by the distribution of program implementation guidelines and forms to affected organizations within the state and federal courts. The program became fully operational in September 1990. Data Matching Agreements Allow Interagency Communication On March 5, 1992, a Computer Matching Agreement became effective between DOJ and the U.S. Department of Education to facilitate the electronic exchange of information on people sentenced to a denial of federal benefits and people who have applied for postsecondary educational benefits. A memorandum of understanding between DOJ and the Federal Communications Commission was approved by both parties and became effective on March 31, 1992, and remains in effect until terminated by either party. This agreement addressed the denial of federal licenses for radio and television stations. Redelegation of Authority to the Bureau of Justice Assistance OJP's AAG assigned the Bureau of Justice Assistance responsibility for the Denial of Federal Benefits Program in April 1995.
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