Disbursement Procedures



A question was recently submitted to the Restitution Corner asking for clarification surrounding the disbursement of funds collected from offenders.

Question: Could you talk about the collections procedure? I would like clarification on who should get paid first when an offender owes costs and fines, restitution to the victim, restitution to VCAP, and to insurance companies.

Answer: In 2003, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania created the Uniform Disbursement Schedule or UDS, which prescribes the manner in which collected economic sanctions in criminal cases are disbursed.  The UDS is a part of the larger AOPC Common Pleas Court Case Management System (CPCMS), which is a statewide system designed to track all Common Pleas Court cases in the Commonwealth. 

All fines, fees, costs, reparations, restitution, penalties and other remittances imposed and collected by the Criminal Division of the Courts of Common Pleas shall be distributed in the following prioritized order:

  1. The collection agency fee provided for in 42 Pa.C.S. Section 9730.1 shall be paid first, but only in cases wherein the private collection agency has secured the funds from the defendant or a third party and the payment is made to the court.  No more than 25% of each payment secured from the defendant by the private collection agency may be applied towards this fee.
  2. The Crime Victim Compensation Fund and Victim Witness Services Fund penalty assessment fees.
  3. At least 50% of any additional payment shall go to restitution until it is paid in full (see 42 Pa.C.S. § 9728(g.1)).  When restitution is ordered to more than one recipient at the same time, the court shall set the priority of payment as follows, in accordance with 18 Pa.C.S. § 1106(c)(1)(ii)(A)-(D):
    1. The victim;
    2. The Crime Victim’s Compensation Board;
    3. Any other governmental agency which has provided reimbursement to the victim as a result of the defendant’s criminal conduct;
    4. Any insurance company which has provided reimbursement to the victim as a result of the defendant’s criminal conduct.
  4. Judicial Computer Project/Access To Justice (JCS/ATJ) Fee (see 42Pa.C.S. § 3733(a.1)).
  5. Various fees such as electronic monitoring fees, offender supervision fees,  and alcohol highway safety school fees.
  6. All other fines, fees, costs, reparations, penalties and other remittances except for judgment or satisfaction fees shall be distributed based upon a pro-rated formula.  Specifically, the amount of the payment allocated to each outstanding item shall be determined by dividing the outstanding balance for the individual item by the combined total of the outstanding balances for all items.  The resulting number is then multiplied by the amount of the payment to determine how much of the payment shall be allocated to the outstanding balance of the individual item involved.
  7. Fees charged by the clerk of courts, prothonotary, other entity in the county responsible for the distribution and disbursement of all fines, fees, costs, reparations, restitution, penalties, or other remittances, or the Clerk of Philadelphia Municipal Court for the entry or satisfaction of a civil judgment related to a criminal proceeding, as set forth in 42 Pa.C.S. § 1725, 42 P.S. §§ 21010, 21042, and 21071 shall be paid last.  The amount of the payment allocated to each fee shall be determined by dividing the outstanding balance for the individual fee by the combined total of the outstanding balances for both fees.

Click here to read the entire article on Pennsylvania Restitution Laws.