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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of April 21, 2014

Title 20: Employees' Benefits


PART 340—RECOVERY OF BENEFITS


Contents
§340.1   Statutory provisions.
§340.2   Amount recoverable.
§340.3   When amounts recoverable to be recovered.
§340.4   Methods of recovery of amounts recoverable.
§340.5   Recovery by cash payment.
§340.6   Recovery by setoff.
§340.7   Deduction in computation of death benefit.
§340.8   Recovery by adjustment in connection with subsequent payments under the Railroad Retirement Act.
§340.9   Effect of adjustment in connection with subsequent payments.
§340.10   Waiver of recovery of erroneous payments.
§340.11   Waiver of methods of recovery.
§340.12   Waiver not a matter of right.
§340.13   Compromise of amounts recoverable.
§340.14   Factors due to be considered in a compromise.
§340.15   Suspension or termination of collection action.
§340.16   Debt collection.

Authority: 45 U.S.C. 362(l).

Source: Board Order 27-22, 32 FR 3341, Feb. 28, 1967, unless otherwise noted.

§340.1   Statutory provisions.

(a) Section 2(d) of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act provides that:

If the Board finds that at any time more than the correct amount of benefits has been paid to any individual under this Act or a payment has been made to an individual not entitled thereto (including payments made prior to July 1, 1940) recovery by adjustments in subsequent payments to which such individual is entitled under this Act or any other Act administered by the Board may, except as otherwise provided in this subsection, be made under regulations prescribed by the Board. If such individual dies before recovery is completed, recovery may be made by setoff or adjustments, under regulations prescribed by the Board, in subsequent payments due, under this Act or any other Act administered by the Board to the estate, designee, next of kin, legal representative, or surviving spouse of such individual, with respect to the employment of such individual.

Adjustments under this subsection may be made either by deductions from subsequent payments or, with respect to payments which are to be made during a lifetime or lifetimes, by subtracting the total amount of benefits paid in excess of the proper amount from the actuarial value, as determined by the Board, of such payments to be made during a lifetime or lifetimes and recertifying such payments on the basis of the reduced actuarial value. In the latter case recovery shall be deemed to have been completed upon such recertification.

There shall be no recovery in any case in which more than the correct amount of benefits has been paid to an individual or payment has been made to an individual not entitled thereto (including payments made prior to July 1, 1940) who, in the judgment of the Board, is without fault when, in the judgment of the Board, recovery would be contrary to the purpose of this Act or would be against equity or good conscience.

No certifying or disbursing officer shall be held liable for any amount certified or paid by him in good faith to any person where the recovery of such amount is waived under the third paragraph of this subsection or has been begun but cannot be completed under the first paragraph of this subsection.

(b) Section 2(f) of the Act provides, in part, that:

If (i) benefits are paid to any employee with respect to unemployment or sickness in any registration period, and it is later determined that remuneration is payable to such employee with respect to any period which includes days in such registration period which had been determined to be days of unemployment or sickness, and (ii) the person or company from which such remuneration is payable has, before payment thereof, notice of the payment of benefits upon the basis of days of unemployment or sickness included in such period, the remuneration so payable shall not be reduced by reason of such benefits but the remuneration so payable, to the extent to which benefits were paid upon the basis of days which had been determined to be days of unemployment or sickness and which are included in the period for which such remuneration is payable, shall be held to be a special fund in trust for the Board. *  *  *

(c) Section 4(a-1) of the Act provides, in part, that:

There shall not be considered as a day of unemployment or as a day of sickness, with respect to any employee— *  *  *

(ii) Any day in any period with respect to which the Board finds that he is receiving or will have received annuity payments or pensions under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1935 or the Railroad Retirement Act of 1937, or insurance benefits under title II of the Social Security Act, or unemployment, maternity, or sickness benefits under an unemployment, maternity, or sickness compensation law other than this Act, or any other social insurance payments under any law: Provided, That if an employee receives or is held entitled to receive any such payments, other than unemployment, maternity, or sickness payments, with respect to any period which include days of unemployment or sickness in a registration period, after benefits under this Act for such registration period will have been paid, the amount by which such benefits under this Act will have been increased by including such days as days of unemployment or as days of sickness shall be recoverable by the Board: Provided further, That, if that part of any such payment or payments, other than unemployment, maternity, or sickness payments, which is apportionable to such days of unemployment or days of sickness is less in amount than the benefits under this Act which, but for this paragraph, would be payable and not recoverable with respect to such days of unemployment or days of sickness, the preceding provisions of this paragraph shall not apply but such benefits under this Act for such days of unemployment or days of sickness shall be diminished or recoverable in the amount of such part of such other payment or payments;

(d) Section 12(o) of the Act provides that:

Benefits payable to an employee with respect to days of sickness shall be payable regardless of the liability of any person to pay damages for such infirmity. The Board shall be entitled to reimbursement from any sum or damages paid or payable to such employee or other person through suit, compromise, settlement, judgment, or otherwise on account of any liability (other than a liability under a health, sickness, accident, or similar insurance policy) based upon such infirmity, to the extent that it will have paid or will pay benefits for days of sickness resulting from such infirmity. Upon notice to the person against whom such right or claim exists or is asserted, the Board shall have a lien upon such right or claim, any judgment obtained thereunder, and any sum or damages paid under such right or claim, to the extent of the amount to which the Board is entitled by way of reimbursement.

(e) Section 3, Pub. L. 89-508, 80 Stat. 308, provides that:

(a) The head of an agency or his designee, pursuant to regulations prescribed by him and in conformity with such standards as may be promulgated jointly by the Attorney General and the Comptroller General, shall attempt collection of all claims of the United States for money or property arising out of the activities of, or referred to, his agency.

(b) With respect to such claims of the United States that have not been referred to another agency, including the General Accounting Office, for further collection action and that do not exceed $20,000, exclusive of interest, the head of an agency or his designee, pursuant to regulations prescribed by him and in conformity with such standards as may be promulgated jointly by the Attorney General and the Comptroller General, may (1) compromise any such claim, or (2) cause collection action on any such claim to be terminated or suspended where it appears that no person liable on the claim has the present or prospective financial ability to pay any significant sum thereon or that the cost of collecting the claim is likely to exceed the amount of recovery. The Comptroller General or his designee shall have the foregoing authority with respect to claims referred to the General Accounting Office by another agency for further collection action. The head of an agency or his designee shall not exercise the foregoing authority with respect to a claim as to which there is an indication of fraud, the presentation of a false claim, or misrepresentation on the part of the debtor or any other party having an interest in the claim, or a claim based in whole or in part on conduct in violation of the antitrust laws; nor shall the head of an agency, other than the Comptroller General of the United States, have authority to compromise a claim that arises from an exception made by the General Accounting Office in the account of an accountable officer.

(c) A compromise effected pursuant to authority conferred by subsection (b) of this section shall be final and conclusive on the debtor and on all officials, agencies, and courts of the United States, except if procured by fraud, misrepresentation, the presentation of a false claim, or mutual mistake of fact. No accountable officer shall be liable for any amount paid or for the value of property lost, damaged, or destroyed, where the recovery of such amount or value may not be had because of a compromise with a person primarily responsible under subsection (b).

§340.2   Amount recoverable.

For purposes of this part, an “amount recoverable” is an amount of unemployment, sickness, or maternity benefits paid under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act which is:

(a) Determined to have been paid erroneously;

(b) Recoverable under section 2(f) of the Act because remuneration is found to be payable with respect to a period which includes days which had been determined to be days of unemployment or sickness;

(c) Recoverable under section 4(a-1)(ii) of the Act because of the employee's having received or been held entitled to receive annuity payments under the Railroad Retirement Act, insurance benefits under title II of the Social Security Act, unemployment, sickness or maternity benefits under any law other than the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, or any other social insurance payments under any law; or

(d) Recoverable under section 12(o) of the Act by virtue of the Board's right to reimbursement from any sum or damages payable through suit, compromise, settlement, judgment, or otherwise on account of liability based upon an infirmity, to the extent that it will have paid or will pay benefits for days of sickness resulting from that infirmity.

§340.3   When amounts recoverable to be recovered.

Amounts recoverable shall be recovered in all cases except those in which recovery is waived under §340.10 or a compromise is approved under §340.13.

§340.4   Methods of recovery of amounts recoverable.

An amount recoverable may be recovered by any one or a combination of the methods described in §§340.5, 340.6, 340.7, and 340.8.

§340.5   Recovery by cash payment.

The Board shall have the right to require that amounts recoverable be immediately and fully repaid in cash and any debtor shall have the absolute right to repay such amount recoverable in this manner. However if the debtor is financially unable to pay the indebtedness in a lump sum, payment may be accepted in regular installments. The amount and frequency of such installment payments should bear a reasonable relation to the size of the debt and the debtor's ability to pay. Whenever possible installment payments should be sufficient in amounts and frequency to liquidate the debt in not more than three years.

§340.6   Recovery by setoff.

An amount recoverable may be recovered by setoff against any subsequent payments to which the individual from whom the amount is recoverable is entitled under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, the Railroad Retirement Act, or any other Act administered by the Board, or, in the case of that individual's death, from any payments due under those Acts to his or her estate, designee, next of kin, legal representative, or surviving spouse. In any case in which full recovery is not effected by setoff, the balance due may be recovered by one or more of the other methods described in this part. If the individual dies before recovery is completed, such recovery shall be made from his estate or heirs.

[53 FR 2489, Jan. 28, 1988]

§340.7   Deduction in computation of death benefit.

In computing the residual lump sum provided for in part 234, subpart D, of this chapter, the Board shall include in the benefits to be deducted from the gross residual all amounts recoverable under this part, but not recovered, including amounts where recovery was waived, that were paid to the individual or paid to others as benefits accrued to the individual but not paid at death.

[57 FR 1379, Jan. 14, 1992]

§340.8   Recovery by adjustment in connection with subsequent payments under the Railroad Retirement Act.

Recovery under this part may be made by permanently reducing the amount of any annuity payable to the overpaid individual (or an individual receiving an annuity based upon the same compensation record as that of the overpaid individual) under the Railroad Retirement Act. This method of recovery is called an actuarial adjustment of the annuity. The Board cannot require any individual to take an actuarial adjustment in order to recover an overpayment nor is an actuarial adjustment available as a matter of right. An actuarial adjustment does not become effective until the overpaid individual negotiates the first annuity check which reflects the annuity rate after actuarial adjustment.

Example: An individual agrees to recovery of a $5,000 overpayment made to him by actuarial adjustment to an annuity awarded him under the Railroad Retirement Act. However, he dies before negotiating the first annuity check reflecting his actuarially reduced rate. The $5,000 is not considered recovered.

[57 FR 1379, Jan. 14, 1992]

§340.9   Effect of adjustment in connection with subsequent payments.

Adjustment by the method described in §340.8 shall constitute recovery of the amount recoverable.

§340.10   Waiver of recovery of erroneous payments.

(a) When waiver of recovery may be applied. Section 2(d) of the Act provides that there shall be no recovery in any case where more than the correct amount of benefits has been paid to an individual or where payment has been made to an individual not entitled to benefits if, in the judgment of the Board:

(1) The individual is without fault; and

(2) Recovery would be contrary to the purpose of the Act or would be against equity or good conscience.

(b) Fault. (1) Fault means a defect of judgment or conduct arising from inattention or bad faith. Judgment or conduct is defective when it deviates from a prudent standard of care taken to comply wih the entitlement provisions of the Act. Conduct includes both action and inaction. Unlike fraud, fault does not require a deliberate intent to deceive.

(2) Whether an individual is at fault in causing erroneous payments generally depends on all circumstances surrounding the erroneous payments. Among the factors the Board will consider are: the ability of the overpaid individual to understand the reporting requirements of the Act or to realize that he or she is being overpaid (e.g., age, comprehension, memory, physical and mental condition); the particular cause of benefit non-entitlement; and the number of claims on which the individual made erroneous statements.

(3) Circumstances in which the Board will find an individual at fault include but are not limited to:

(i) Failure to furnish information which the individual knew or should have known was material;

(ii) An incorrect statement made by the individual which he or she knew or should have known was incorrect (including furnishing an opinion or conclusion when asked for facts);

(iii) Failure to return a payment which the individual knew or should have known was incorrect.

(c) When recovery defeats the purpose of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. (1) The purpose of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act is to furnish some replacement for an individual's railroad earnings lost because of days of sickness or unemployment. The purpose of the Act is defeated when an erroneous payment is recovered from income and resources which the individual requires to meet ordinary and necessary living expenses. If either income or resources are sufficient to meet expenses, the purpose of the Act is not defeated by recovery of an erroneous payment.

(2) For purposes of this section, income includes any funds which may reasonably be considered available for the individual's use, regardless of source. Income to the individual's spouse or dependents is available if the spouse or dependent lived with the individual at the time waiver is considered. Types of income include, but are not limited to:

(i) Government benefits such as Black Lung, Social Security, Workers' Compensation, and Unemployment Compensation benefits;

(ii) Wages and self-employment income;

(iii) Regular payments such as rent or pensions; and

(iv) Investment income.

(3) For purposes of this section, resources include, but are not limited to, liquid assets such as cash on hand, the value of stocks, bonds, savings accounts, mutual funds, any accrual benefit payable by the United States of America or any other source.

(4) Whether an individual has sufficient income and resources to meet ordinary and necessary living expenses depends not only on the amount of his or her income and resources, but also on whether the expenses are “ordinary and necessary.” While the level of expenses which is “ordinary and necessary” may vary between individuals, it must be held at a level reasonable for an individual who is temporarily unemployed or incapacitated due to sickness. The Board will consider the discretionary nature of an expense in determining whether it is reasonable. Ordinary and necessary living expenses include:

(i) Fixed living expenses, such as food and clothing, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, insurance (e.g., life, accident, and health insurance), taxes, installment payments, etc.;

(ii) Medical, hospitalization, and other similar expenses;

(iii) Expenses for the support of others for whom the individual is legally responsible; and

(iv) Miscellaneous expenses (e.g., newspapers, haircuts).

(5) Where recovery of the full amount of an erroneous payment would be made from income and resources required to meet ordinary and necessary living expenses, but recovery of a lesser amount would leave income or resources sufficient to meet expenses, recovery of the lesser amount does not defeat the purpose of the Act.

(d) When recovery is against equity or good conscience. Recovery is considered to be against equity or good conscience when a person, in reliance on such payments or on notice that such payment would be made, relinquished a valuable right or changed his or her position for the worse.

(e) Recoveries not subject to waiver. (1) Where an amount is recoverable pursuant to section 2(f) of the Act from remuneration payable to an employee by a person or company, or where a lien for reimbursement of sickness benefits has arisen pursuant to section 12(o) of the Act, and in either case recovery is sought from a person other than the employee, no right to waiver of recovery exists.

(2) Where the amount recoverable is equal to or less than 10 times the current maximum daily benefit rate under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act it shall not be considered contrary to the purpose of the Act or against equity or good conscience to recover such payment. Consequently, the amount recoverable is not subject to waiver under this part.

(3) Where the amount recoverable is the result of an overpayment of benefits payable under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act due to entitlement to annuities under the Railroad Retirement Act for the same days for which benefits were payable, and recovery of such overpayment may be made by offset against an accrual of the annuities, it shall not be considered contrary to the purpose of the Act or against equity or good conscience to recover the erroneous payment by offset against such accrual. Consequently, the amount recoverable is not subject to waiver under this part.

(4) Where there exists accumulated Federal benefits payable by any executive agency of the United States, any amount recoverable which is equal to or less than the accumulated Federal benefits is not subject to waiver. Any amount recoverable which is greater than the identified accumulated Federal benefits may be considered for waiver in accordance with the provisions of this part and part 320 of this chapter.

[53 FR 2489, Jan. 28, 1988, as amended at 57 FR 1379, Jan. 14, 1992]

§340.11   Waiver of methods of recovery.

The Board may waive any right to recover all or any part of an amount recoverable by any one or more methods without waiving the right to recover by some other method or methods if, in the judgment of the Board, the individual is without fault and if, in the judgment of the Board, recovery by the methods waived would be against equity and good conscience and recovery by such other methods would not be against equity and good conscience.

§340.12   Waiver not a matter of right.

A waiver under §340.10 or §340.11 is not a matter of right, but is at all times within the judgment of the Board.

§340.13   Compromise of amounts recoverable.

The Board or its designee may compromise an amount recoverable, provided such amount does not exceed $100,000, excluding interest, or such higher amount as the Attorney General may from time to time prescribe. Compromise of an amount recoverable may not be considered in any case in which there is an indication of fraud, the presentation of a false claim or misrepresentation on the part of the debtor or his representative. Compromise is at all times within the discretionary authority of the Board or its designee.

[Board Order 27-22, 32 FR 3341, Feb. 28, 1967, as amended at 62 FR 41271, Aug. 1, 1997]

§340.14   Factors due to be considered in a compromise.

The following indicate the character of reasons which will be considered in approving a compromise:

(a) The debtor's ability to repay the full amount within a reasonable time;

(b) The debtor's refusal to pay the claim in full and the Board's inability to effect collection in full within a reasonable time by other collection methods;

(c) Doubt concerning the Board's ability to prove its case in court for the full amount because of a bona fide dispute as to the facts or because of the legal issues involved;

(d) The cost of collecting the amount recoverable does not justify the enforced collection of the full amount.

§340.15   Suspension or termination of collection action.

Collection action on a Board claim may be suspended or terminated under the following conditions:

(a) Collection action on a Board claim may be suspended temporarily when the debtor cannot be located and there is reason to believe future collection action may be productive or collection may be effected by offset in the near future.

(b) Collection action may be terminated when:

(1) The debtor is unable to make any substantial payment;

(2) The debtor cannot be located and offset is too remote to justify retention of the claim;

(3) The cost of collection action will exceed the amount recoverable;

(4) The claim is legally without merit or cannot be substantiated by the evidence.

§340.16   Debt collection.

(a) The Associate Executive Director for Unemployment and Sickness Insurance shall take steps to collect all delinquent debts due the Board under the benefit provisions of the Act, except those that have been classed as uncollectible. Such steps shall commence not later than July 1, 1985 and shall include notice to each debtor of the time limit for paying the debt and the consequences of failure to pay on time.

(b) It shall be the duty of every employer or other person paying remuneration for time lost or any sum or damages for personal injury to remit the amount of reimbursement due the Board, if any, within 30 days of the date of the payment of remuneration or damages to an employee. Failure to remit the amount due within 30 days shall subject the employer or other person to interest and penalties, in addition to the principal amount due the Board.

[50 FR 36872, Sept. 10, 1985]



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