The commissioner shall provide services to the state and referring agencies to collect debts referred for collection under this chapter. The commissioner is not a collection agency as defined by section 332.31, subdivision 3, and is not licensed, bonded, or regulated by the commissioner of commerce under sections 332.31 to 332.35 or 332.38 to 332.45. The commissioner is subject to section 332.37, except clause (9), (10), (12), or (19). Debts referred to the commissioner for collection under section 256.9792 may in turn be referred by the commissioner to the enterprise. An audited financial statement may not be required as a condition of debt placement with a private agency if the private agency: (1) has errors and omissions coverage under a professional liability policy in an amount of at least $1,000,000; or (2) has a fidelity bond to cover actions of its employees, in an amount of at least $100,000. In cases of debts referred under section 256.9792, the provisions of this chapter and section 256.9792 apply to the extent they are not in conflict. If they are in conflict, the provisions of section 256.9792 control. For purposes of this chapter, the referring agency for such debts remains the Department of Human Services.
(a) A referring agency must refer, by electronic means, debts to the commissioner for collection. Decisions with regard to continuing collection and the uncollectibility of referred debts shall be made by the commissioner who shall then notify the commissioner of finance and the referring agency. A decision by the commissioner that a referred debt is uncollectible does not prevent the referring agency from taking additional collection action.
(b) Before a debt becomes 121 days past due, a referring agency may refer the debt to the commissioner for collection at any time after a debt becomes delinquent and uncontested and the debtor has no further administrative appeal of the amount of the debt. When a debt owed to a referring agency becomes 121 days past due, the referring agency must refer the debt to the commissioner for collection. This requirement does not apply if there is a dispute over the amount or validity of the debt, if the debt is the subject of legal action or administrative proceedings, or the agency determines that the debtor is adhering to acceptable payment arrangements. The commissioner may provide that certain types of debt need not be referred to the commissioner for collection under this paragraph. Methods and procedures for referral must follow internal guidelines prepared by the commissioner.
(c) If the referring agency is a court, the court must furnish a debtor's Social Security number to the commissioner when the court refers the debt.
The commissioner shall provide collection services for a state agency, and may provide for collection services for a court, in accordance with the terms and conditions of a signed debt qualification plan.
The commissioners of revenue and finance may contract with credit bureaus, private collection agencies, and other entities as necessary for the collection of debts. A private collection agency acting under a contract with the commissioner of revenue or finance is subject to sections 332.31 to 332.45, except that the private collection agency may indicate that it is acting under a contract with the state. The commissioner may not delegate the powers provided under section 16D.08 to any nongovernmental entity.