EDI Standards

EDI Standards Used by HUD

EDI standards are agreements between users of EDI on how data is to be formatted and communicated. Standards are key to both the effectiveness and integrity of EDI. These standards are embodied in the electronic format of business documents known as transaction sets. The standards used by HUD are the ANSI ASC X12 standards, abbreviated herein as X12.

Standards provide a common syntax, set of rules, and procedures for their maintenance and enhancements. EDI standards presently define and support more than 200 business documents derived from industry and government working groups. They provide a framework from which new standards can be derived as well as a data base of elements to be used in the creation of new standards. In general, EDI formatting standards address the following issues:

  • What documents can be communicated electronically;
  • What information is to be included;
  • What sequence the information should follow;
  • What form the information (i.e., numeric, ID codes, etc.) should use;
  • The meaning of the individual pieces of information.

To meet the emerging requirements for standard EDI protocols, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) chartered Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 to develop uniform standards for EDI. The X12 data structure is based on a proven methodology for adapting business forms for electronic transmission across telecommunication networks. A group of standards subcommittees are in place to advise, critique, and monitor the development of all X12 formats and make these formats available for business or government use. The Data Interchange Standards Association (DISA) was formed in 1986 to encourage the use of X12 standards. This organization is the administrative secretariat for the X12 organization. It provides services such as printing, distribution, and storage of standards.

Additionally, DISA participates in the international development of standards working with EDI for Administration, Commerce, and Trade (EDIFACT). EDIFACT is a family of standards sponsored by the United Nations. These standards are emerging as the medium for global electronic trade. For the Federal Government, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), issued Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 161, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). FIPS 161 adopts the ASC X12 standards as mandatory for use by the Federal Government for any EDI initiative implemented after September 30, 1991. In compliance with this Federal standard, HUD is committed to using X12 standards in all Department initiatives involving EDI.

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