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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of May 28, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter XII → Part 1450


Title 29: Labor


PART 1450—COLLECTIONS OF CLAIMS OWED THE UNITED STATES


Contents

Subpart A—General Provisions

§1450.1   Definitions.
§1450.2   Exceptions.
§1450.3   Use of procedures.
§1450.4   Conformance to law and regulations.
§1450.5   Other procedures.
§1450.6   Informal action.
§1450.7   Return of property.
§1450.8   Omissions not a defense.

Subpart B—Administrative Offset—Consumer Reporting Agencies—Contracting for Collection

§1450.9   Demand for payment.
§1450.10   Collection by administrative offset.
§1450.11   Administrative offset against amounts payable from Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund.
§1450.12   Collection in installments.
§1450.13   Exploration of compromise.
§1450.14   Suspending or termination collection action.
§1450.15   Referrals to the Department of Justice or the General Accounting Office.
§1450.16   Use of consumer reporting agencies.
§1450.17   Contracting for collection services.

Subpart C—Salary Offset

§1450.18   Purpose.
§1450.19   Scope.
§1450.20   Definitions.
§1450.21   Notification.
§1450.22   Hearing.
§1450.23   Deduction from pay.
§1450.24   Liquidation from final check or recovery from other payment.
§1450.25   Non-waiver of rights by payments.
§1450.26   Refunds.
§1450.27   Interest, penalties, and administrative costs.
§1450.28   Recovery when paying agency is not creditor agency.

Subpart D—Interest, Penalties, and Administrative Costs

§1450.29   Assessment.
§1450.30   Exemptions.
§1450.31   Other sanctions.

Authority: 31 U.S.C. 3701-3719; 5 U.S.C. 5514; 4 CFR parts 101-105; 5 CFR part 550.

Source: 51 FR 24817, July 9, 1986, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—General Provisions

§1450.1   Definitions.

(a) The term agency means the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) or any other agency of the U.S. Government as stated at §1450.20.

(b) The term agency head means the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

(c) The terms appropriate agency official or designee mean the Director of the Financial Management Staff of FMCS, or such other official as may be named in the future by the Director of FMCS.

(d) The terms claim and debt are deemed synonymous and interchangeable. They refer to an amount of money or property which has been determined by an appropriate agency official to be owed to the United States from any person, organization or entity, except another Federal agency.

(e) A debt is considered delinquent if it has not been paid by the date specified in the agency's written notification or applicable contractual agreement, unless other satisfactory payment arrangements have been made by that date, or if at any time thereafter the debtor fails to satisfy obligations under a payment agreement with the agency.

(f) The term referral for litigation means referral to the Department of justice for appropriate legal proceedings.

§1450.2   Exceptions.

(a) Claims arising from the audit of transportation accounts pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3726 shall be determined, collected, compromised, terminated or settled in accordance with regulations published under the authority of 31 U.S.C. 3726 (see 41 CFR part 101-41).

(b) Claims arising out of acquisition contracts subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) shall be determined, collected, compromised, terminated, or settled in accordance with those regulations. (See 48 CFR part 32). If not otherwise provided for in the FAR system, contract claims that have been the subject of a contracting officer's final decision in accordance with section 6(a) of the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (41 U.S.C. 605)(a)), may be determined, collected, compromised, terminated or settled under the provisions of this regulation, except that no additional review of the debt shall be granted beyond that provided by the contracting officer in accordance with the provisions of section 6 of the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (41 U.S.C. 605), and the amount of any interest, administrative charge, or penalty charge shall be subject to the limitations, if any, contained in the contract out of which the claim arose.

(c) Claims based in whole or in part on conduct in violation of the antitrust laws, or in regard to which there is an indication of fraud, presentation of a false claim, or misrepresentation on the part of the debtor or any other party having an interest in the claim, shall be referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) as only the DOJ has authority to compromise, suspend, or terminate collection action on such claims.

(d) Tax claims are also excluded from the coverage of this regulation.

§1450.3   Use of procedures.

Procedures authorized by this regulation (including, but not limited to, disclosure to a consumer reporting agency, contracting for collection services, administrative offset and salary offset) may be used singly or in combination, so long as the requirements of applicable law and regulation are satisfied.

§1450.4   Conformance to law and regulations.

The requirements of applicable law (31 U.S.C 3701-3719 and 5 U.S.C. 5514 as amended by Pub. L. 97-365, 96 Stat. 1749) have been implemented in Governmentwide standards:

(a) The Regulations of the Office of Personnel Management (5 CFR part 550),

(b) The Federal Claims Collection Standards issued jointly by the General Accounting Office and the Department of Justice (4 CFR parts 101-105), and

(c) The procedures prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget in Circular A-129 of May 9, 1985.

Not every item in the above described standards has been incorporated or referenced in this regulation. To the extent, however, that circumstances arise which are not covered by the terms stated in this regulation, FMCS will proceed in any actions taken in accordance with applicable requirements found in the sources referred to in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section.

§1450.5   Other procedures.

Nothing contained in this regulation is intended to require FMCS to duplicate administrative proceedings required by contract or other laws or regulations.

§1450.6   Informal action.

Nothing contained in this regulation is intended to preclude utilization of informal administrative actions or remedies which may be available.

§1450.7   Return of property.

Nothing contained in this regulation is intended to deter FMCS from demanding the return of specific property or from demanding, the return of the property or the payment of its value.

§1450.8   Omissions not a defense.

The failure of FMCS to comply with any provision in this regulation shall not serve as a defense to the debt.

Subpart B—Administrative Offset—Consumer Reporting Agencies—Contracting for Collection

§1450.9   Demand for payment.

Prior to making an administrative offset, demand for payment will be made as stated below:

(a) Written demands shall be made promptly upon a debtor in terms which inform the debtor of the consequences of failure to cooperate. A total of three progressively stronger written demands at not more than 30-day intervals will normally be made unless a response to the first or second demand indicates that a further demand would be futile and the debtor's response does not require rebuttal. In determining the timing of demand letters, FMCS will give due regard to the need to act promptly so that, as a general rule, if necessary to refer the debt to the Department of Justice for litigation, such referral can be made within one year of the agency's final determination of the fact and the amount of the debt. When necessary to protect the Government's interest (for example, to prevent the statute of limitations, 28 U.S.C. 2415, from expiring), written demand may be preceded by other appropriate actions under this subpart including immediate referral for litigation.

(b) The initial demand letter will inform the debtor of:

(1) The basis for the indebtedness and the right of the debtor to request review within the agency;

(2) The applicable standards for assessing interest, penalties, and administrative costs (subpart D of this regulation) and

(3) The date by which payment is to be made, which normally should be not more than 30 days from the date that the initial demand letter was mailed or hand-delivered. FMCS will exercise care to insure that demand letters are mailed or hand-delivered on the same day that they are actually dated. Apart from this, there is no prescribed format for the demand letters.

(c) As appropriate to the circumstances, FMCS may include either in the initial demand letter or in subsequent letters, matters relating to alternative methods of payment, policies with respect to use of consumer reporting agencies and collection services, the agency's intentions with respect to referral of the debt to the Department of Justice for litigation, and, depending on applicable statutory authority, the debtor's entitlement to consideration of waiver.

(d) FMCS will respond promptly to communications from the debtor, within 30 days whenever feasible, and will advise debtor who dispute the debt that they must furnish available evidence to support their contentions.

(e) If, either prior to the initiations of, at any time during, or after completion of the demand cycle, FMCS determines to pursue administrative offset, then the requirements specified in §§1450.10 and 1450.11, as applicable, will be met. The availability of funds for offset and the agency determination to purse it release the agency from the necessity of further compliance with paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section. If the agency has not already sent the first demand letter, the agency's written notification of its intent to offset must give the debtor the opportunity to make voluntary payment, a requirement which will be satisfied by compliance with the notice requirements of §§1450.10 and 1450.11 as applicable.

§1450.10   Collection by administrative offset.

(a) Collection by administrative offset will be undertaken in accordance with these regulations on all claims which are liquidated or certain in amount, in every instance in which such collection is determined to be feasible and not otherwise prohibited.

(1) For purposes of this section, the term “administrative offset” is the same as stated in 31 U.S.C. 3716(a)(1).

(2) Whether collection by administrative offset is feasible is a determination to be made by the agency on a case-by-case basis, in the exercise of sound discretion. FMCS will consider not only whether administrative offset can be accomplished practically, but also whether offset is best suited to further and protect all of the Government's interests. In appropriate circumstances, FMCS may give due consideration to the debtor's financial condition and is not required to use offset in every instance in which there is an available source of funds. FMCS may also consider whether offset would tend to substantially interfere with or defeat the purposes of the program authorizing the payments against which offset is contemplated. For example, under a grant program in which payments are made in advance of the grantee's performance, offset will normally be inappropriate. This concept generally does not apply, however, where payment is in the form of reimbursement.

(b) Before the offset is made, a debtor shall be provided with the following: Written notice of the nature and amount of the debt, and the agency's intention to collect by offset; opportunity to inspect and copy agency records pertaining to the debt; opportunity to obtain review within the agency of the determination of indebtedness; and opportunity to enter into a written agreement with the agency to repay the debt. FMCS may also make requests for offset to other agencies holding funds payable to the debtor, and process requests for offset that are received from other agencies.

(1) FMCS will exercise sound judgment in determining whether to accept a repayment agreement in lieu of offset. The determination will weigh the Government's interest in collecting the debt against fairness to the debtor. If the debt is delinquent and the debtor has not disputed its existence or amount, FMCS will normally accept a repayment agreement in lieu of offset only if the debtor is able to establish that offset would result in undue financial hardship or would be against equity and good conscience.

(2) In cases where the procedural requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section have previously been provided to the debtor in connection with the same debt under §1450.9, or some other regulatory or statutory authority, such as pursuant to a notice of audit allowance, the agency is not required to duplicate those requirements before taking administrative offset.

(3) FMCS may not initiate administrative offset to collect a debt under 31 U.S.C. 3716 more than 10 years after the Government's right to collect the debt first accrued, unless facts material to the Government's right to collect the debt were not known and could not reasonably have been known by the official or officials of the Government who were charged with the responsibility to discover and collect such debts. When the debt first accrued is to be determined according to existing law, regarding the accrual of debts, such as 28 U.S.C. 2415.

(4) FMCS is not authorized by 31 U.S.C. 3716 to use administrative offset with respect to:

(i) Debts owed by any State or local Governments;

(ii) Debts arising under or payments made under the Social Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or the tariff laws of the United States; or

(iii) Any case in which collection of the type of debt involved by administrative offset is explicitly provided for or prohibited by another statute. However, unless otherwise provided by contract or law, debts or payments which are not subject to administrative offset under 31 U.S.C. 3716 may be collected by administrative offset under the common law or other applicable statutory authority.

(5) FMCS may effect administrative offset against a payment to be made to a debtor prior to completion of the procedures required by paragraph (b) of this section if:

(i) Failure to take the offset would substantially prejudice the Government's ability to collect the debt, and

(ii) The time before the payment is to be made does not reasonably permit the completion of those procedures.

Such prior offset must be promptly followed by the completion of those procedures. Amounts recovered by offset but later found not to be owed to the Government shall be promptly refunded.

(6) FMCS will obtain credit reports on delinquent accounts to identify opportunities for administrative offset of amounts due to a delinquent debtor when other collection techniques have been unsuccessful.

(c) Type of hearing or review: (1) For purposes of this section, whenever FMCS is required to provide a hearing or review within the agency, the agency shall provide the debtor with a reasonable opportunity for an oral hearing when:

(i) An applicable statute authorizes or requires the agency to consider waiver of the indebtedness involved, the debtor requests waiver of the indebtedness, and the waiver determination turns on an issue of credibility or veracity; or

(ii) The debtor requests reconsideration of the debt and the agency determines that the question of the indebtedness cannot be resolved by review of the documentary evidence, for example, when the validity of the debt turns on an issue of credibility or veracity.

Unless otherwise required by law, an oral hearing under this section is not required to be a formal evidentiary-type hearing, although the FMCS will carefully document all significant matters discussed at the hearing.

(2) This section does not require an oral hearing with respect to debt collection systems in which determinations of indebtedness or waiver rarely involve issues of credibility or veracity and the agency has determined that review of the written record is ordinarily an adequate means to correct prior mistakes. In administering such a system, the agency is not required to sift through all of the requests received in order to accord oral hearings in those few cases which may involve issues of credibility or veracity.

(3) In those cases where an oral hearing is not required by this section, the agency will make its determination on the request for waiver or reconsideration based upon a “paper hearing” that is, a review of the written record.

(d) Appropriate use will be made of the cooperative efforts of other agencies in effecting collection by administrative offset. Generally, FMCS will not refuse to comply with requests from other agencies to initiate administrative offset to collect debts owed to the United States, unless the requesting agency has not complied with the applicable provisions of these standards or the offset would be otherwise contrary to law.

(e) Collection by offset against a judgment obtained by a debtor against the United States shall be accomplished in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3728.

(f) Whenever the creditor agency is not the agency which is responsible for making the payment against which administrative offset is sought, the latter agency shall not initiate the requested offset until it has been provided by the creditor agency with an appropriate written certification that the debtor owes a debt (including the amount) and that full compliance with the provisions of this section has taken place.

(g) When collecting multiple debts by administrative offset, FMCS will apply the recovered amounts to those debts in accordance with the best interests of the United States, as determined by the facts and circumstances of the particular case, paying special attention to applicable statutes of limitations.

§1450.11   Administrative offset against amounts payable from Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund.

(a) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, FMCS may request that moneys which are due and payable to a debtor from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund be administratively offset in reasonable amounts in order to collect in one full payment, or a minimal number of payments, debts owed to the United States by the debtor. Such requests shall be made to the appropriate officials of the Office of Personnel Management in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Director of that Office.

(b) When making a request for administrative offset under paragraph (a) of this section, FMCS shall include a written certification that:

(1) The debtor owes the United States a debt, including the amount of the debt;

(2) The FMCS has complied with the applicable statutes, regulations, and procedures of the Office of Personnel Management; and

(3) The FMCS has complied with the requirements of §1450.10 of this subpart, including any required hearing or review.

(c) Once FMCS decides to request adminstrative offset under paragraph (a) of this section, it will make the request as soon as practical after completion of the applicable procedures in order that the Office of Personnel Management may identify and “flag” the debtor's account in anticipation of the time when the debtor requests or become eligible to receive payments from the Fund. This will satisfy any requirement that offset be initiated prior to expiration of the applicable statute of limitations. At such time as the debtor makes a claim for payments from the Fund, if at least a year has elapsed since the offset request was originally made, the debtor should be permitted to offer a satisfactory payment plan in lieu of offset upon establishing that changed financial circumstances would render the offset unjust.

(d) If FMCS collects part or all of the debt by other means before deductions are made or completed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, FMCS shall act promptly to modify or terminate its request for offset under paragraph (a) of this section.

(e) This section does not require or authorize the Office of Personnel Management to review the merits of the FMCS determination with respect to the amount and validity of the debt, its determination as to waiver under an applicable statute, or its determination to provide or not provide a hearing.

§1450.12   Collection in installments.

(a) Whenever feasible, and except as otherwise provided by law, debts owed to the United States, together with interest, penalties, and administrative costs as required by this regulation should be collected in full in one lump sum. This is true whether the debt is being collected by administrative offset or by another method, including voluntary payment. However, if the debtor is financially unable to pay the indebtedness in one lump sum, payment may be accepted in regular installments. FMCS will obtain financial statements from debtors who represent that they are unable to pay the debt in one lump sum. If FMCS agrees to accept payment in regular installments it will obtain a legally enforceable written agreement from the debtor which specifies all of the terms of the arrangement and which contains a provision accelerating the debt in the event the debtor defaults. The size and frequency of installment payments should bear a reasonable relation to the size of the debt and the debtor's ability to pay. If possible, the installment payments should be sufficient in size and frequency to liquidate the Government's claim in not more than 3 years. Installment payments of less than $50 per month will be accepted only if justifiable on the grounds of financial hardship or some other reasonable cause.

(b) If the debtor owes more than one debt and designates how a voluntary installment payment is to be applied as among those debts, that designation must be followed. If the debtor does not designate the application of the payment, FMCS will apply payments to various debts in accordance with the best interests of the United States, as determined by the facts and circumstances of the particular case, paying special attention to applicable statutes of limitations.

§1450.13   Exploration of compromise.

FMCS may attempt to effect compromise, preferably during the course of personal interviews, in accordance with the standards set forth in part 103 of the Federal Claims Collection Standards (4 CFR part 103).

§1450.14   Suspending or termination collection action.

The suspension or termination of collection action shall be made in accordance with the standards set forth in part 104 of the Federal Claims Collection Standards (4 CFR part 104).

§1450.15   Referrals to the Department of Justice or the General Accounting Office.

Referrals to the Department of Justice or the General Accounting Office shall be made in accordance with the standards set forth in part 105 of the Federal Claims Collection Standards (4 CFR part 105).

§1450.16   Use of consumer reporting agencies.

(a) The term individual means a natural person, and the term “consumer reporting agency” has the meaning provided in the Federal Claims Collection Act, as amended, at 31 U.S.C. 3701(a)(3) or the Fair Credit Reporting Act, at 15 U.S.C. 1681a(f).

(b) FMCS may disclose to a consumer reporting agency, from a system of records, information that an individual is responsible for a claim if—

(1) Notice required by section 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(e)(4) indicates that information in the system may be disclosed to a consumer reporting agency;

(2) The claim has been reviewed and it is decided that the claim is valid and overdue;

(3) FMCS has notified the individual in writing—

(i) That payment of the claim is overdue;

(ii) That, within not less than 60 days after sending the notice, FMCS intends to disclose to a consumer reporting agency that the individual is responsible for that claim;

(iii) Of the specific information to be disclosed to the consumer reporting agency; and

(iv) Of the rights the individual has to a complete explanation of the claim, to dispute information in the records of the agency about the claim, and to administrative appeal or review of the claim; and

(4) The individual has not—

(i) Repaid or agreed to repay the claim under a written repayment plan that the individual has signed and the agency has agreed to; or

(ii) Filed for review of the claim under paragraph (g) of this section;

(c) FMCS will also—(1) Disclose promptly, to each consumer reporting agency to which the original disclosure was made, a substantial change in the condition or amount of the claim;

(2) Verify or correct promptly information about the claim, on request of a consumer reporting agency for verification of information disclosed; and

(3) Get satisfactory assurances from each consumer reporting agency that they are complying with all laws of the United States related to providing consumer credit information; and assure that

(d) The information disclosed to the consumer reporting agency is limited to (1) Information necessary to establish the identity of the individual, including name, address, and taxpayer identification number;

(2) The amount, status, and history of the claim; and

(3) The agency or program under which the claim arose.

(e) All accounts in excess of $100 that have been delinquent more than 31 days will normally be referred to a consumer reporting agency.

(f) Before disclosing information to a consumer reporting agency FMCS shall take reasonable action to locate an individual for whom the head of the agency does not have a current address to send the notice.

(g) Before disclosing information to a consumer reporting agency FMCS shall provide, on request of an individual alleged by the agency to be responsible for the claim, a review of the obligation of the individual including an opportunity for reconsideration of the initial decision on the claim.

(h) Under the same provisions as described above in this section, FMCS may disclose to a credit reporting agency, information relating to a debtor other than a natural person. Such commercial debt accounts are not covered, however, by the Privacy Act.

§1450.17   Contracting for collection services.

(a) FMCS has authority to contract for collection services to recover delinquent debts, provided that the following conditions are satisfied;

(1) The authority to resolve disputes, compromise claims, suspend or terminate collection action, and refer the matter for litigation is retained by the agency;

(2) The contractor shall be subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended to the extent specified in 5 U.S.C. 552a(m), and to applicable Federal and State laws and regulations pertaining to debt collection practices, such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692;

(3) The contractor must be required to account strictly for all amounts collected;

(4) The contractor must agree that uncollectible accounts shall be returned with appropriate documentation to enable FMCS to determine whether to pursue collection through litigation or to terminate collection efforts, and

(5) The contractor must agree to provide any data contained in its files relating to paragraphs (a) (1), (2), and (3) of §105.2 of the Federal Claims Collection Standards (4 CFR part 105) upon returning an account to FMCS for subsequent referral to the Department of Justice for litigation.

(b) Funding of collection service contracts: (1) FMCS may fund a collection service contract on a fixed-fee basis, that is, payment of a fixed fee determined without regard to the amount actually collected under the contract. Payment of the fee under this type of contract must be charged to available agency appropriations.

(2) FMCS may also fund a collection service contract on a contingent-fee basis, that is, by including a provision in the contract permitting the contractor to deduct its fee from amounts collected under the contract. The fee should be based on a percentage of the amount collected, consistent with prevailing commercial practice.

(3) FMCS may enter into a contract under paragraph (b)(1) of this section only if and to the extent provided in advance in its appropriation acts or other legislation, except that this requirement does not apply to the use of a revolving fund authorized by statute.

(4) Except as authorized under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, or unless the receipt qualifies as a refund to the appropriation, or unless otherwise specifically provided by law, FMCS must deposit all amounts recovered under collection service contracts (or by agency employees on behalf of the agency) in the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3302.

(c) FMCS will consider the use of collection agencies at any time after the account is 61 days past due. In all cases accounts that are six months or more past due shall be turned over to a collection agency unless referred for litigation or unless arrangements have been made for a workout procedure, or the agency has exercised its authority to write off the debt pursuant to §1450.14.

(d) FMCS will generally not use a collection agency to collect a delinquent debt owed by a currently employed or retired Federal employee, if collection by salary or annuity offset is available.

Subpart C—Salary Offset

§1450.18   Purpose.

This subpart provides the standards to be followed by FMCS in implementing 5 U.S.C. 5514 to recover a debt from the pay account of an FMCS employee, and establishes procedural guidelines to recover debts when the employee's creditor and paying agencies are not the same.

§1450.19   Scope.

(a) Coverage. This subpart applies to agencies and employees as defined by §1450.20.

(b) Applicability. This subpart and 5 U.S.C. 5514 apply in recovering certain debts by offset, except where the employee consents to the recovery, from the current pay account of that employee. Because it is an administrative offset, debt collection procedures for salary offset which are not specified in U.S.C. 5514 and these regulations should be consistent with the provisions of the Federal Claims Collection Standards (4 CFR parts 101-105).

(1) Excluded debts or claims. The procedures contained in this subpart do not apply to debts or claims arising under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 as amended (26 U.S.C. 1 et seq.), the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) or the tariff laws of the United States, or to any case where collection of a debt by salary offset is explicitly provided for or prohibited by another statute (e.g., travel advances in 5 U.S.C. 5705 and employee training expenses in 5 U.S.C. 4108).

(2) Waiver requests and claims to the General Accounting Office. This subpart does not preclude an employee from requesting waiver of a salary overpayment under 5 U.S.C. 5584, 10 U.S.C. 2774, or 32 U.S.C. 716, or in any way questioning the amount or validity of a debt by submitting a subsequent claim to the General Accounting Office in accordance with procedures prescribed by the General Accounting Office. Similarly, in the case of other types of debts, it does not preclude an employee from requesting waiver, if waiver is available under any statutory provision pertaining to the particular debt being collected.

(c) Time limit. Under 4 CFR 102.3(b)(3), offset may not be initiated more than 10 years after the Government's right to collect the debt first accrued, unless an exception applies as stated in §102.3(b)(3).

§1450.20   Definitions.

For purposes of this subpart—

Agency means the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) or means any other agency of the U.S. Government as defined by section 105 of title 5 U.S.C., including the U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. Postal Rate Commission, a military department as defined by section 102 of title 5 U.S.C., an agency or court of the judicial branch, and an agency of the legislative branch, including the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Creditor agency means the agency to which the debt is owed.

Debt means an amount owed to the United States from sources which include loans insured or guaranteed by the United States and all other amounts due the United States from fees, leases, rents, royalties, services, sales of real or personal property, overpayments, penalties, damages, interests, fines and forfeitures (except those arising under the Uniform Code Military Justice), and all other similar sources.

Disposable pay means that part of current basic pay, special pay, incentive pay, retired pay, retainer pay, or in the case of an employee not entitled to basic pay, other authorized pay remaining after the deduction of any amount required by law to be withheld. FMCS will exclude deductions described in 5 CFR 581.105 (b) through (f) to determine disposable pay subject to salary offset.

Employee means a current employee of FMCS or of another agency, including a current member of the Armed Forces or a Reserve of the Armed Forces

FCCS means the Federal Claims Collection Standards jointly published by the Justice Department and the General Accounting Office at 4 CFR parts 101-105.

Paying agency means the agency employing the individual and authorizing the payment of his or her current pay.

Salary offset means an administrative offset to collect a debt under 5 U.S.C. 5514 by deduction(s) at one or more officially established pay intervals from the current pay account of an employee without his or her consent.

Waiver means the cancellation, remission, forgiveness, or non-recovery of a debt allegedly owed by an employee to an agency as permitted or required by 5 U.S.C. 5584, 10 U.S.C. 2774, or 32 U.S.C. 710, 5 U.S.C. 8346(b), or any other law.

§1450.21   Notification.

(a) Salary offset deductions shall not be made unless the Director of the Financial Management Staff of FMCS, or such other official as may be named in the future by the Director of FMCS, provides to the employee—at least 30 days before any deduction—a written notice stating at a minimum:

(1) The agency's determination that a debt is owed, including the origin, nature, and amount of the debt;

(2) The agency's intention to collect the debt by means of deduction from the employee's current disposable pay account;

(3) The amount, frequency, proposed beginning date, and duration of the intended deductions;

(4) An explanation of the agency's policy concerning interest, penalties, and administrative costs (subpart D of this regulation), a statement that such assessment must be made unless excused in accordance with the FCCS;

(5) The employee's right to inspect and copy Government records relating to the debt or, if the employee or his or her representative cannot personnally inspect the records, to request and receive a copy of such records;

(6) If not previously provided, the opportunity (under terms agreeable to the agency) to establish a schedule for the voluntary repayment of the debt or to enter into a written agreement to establish a schedule for repayment of the debt in lieu of offset. The agreement must be writing, signed by both the employee and the Director of the Financial Management Staff of FMCS, and documented in agency files (4 CFR 102.11).

(7) The employee's right to a hearing conducted by an official arranged by the agency (an administrative law judge or alternatively, a hearing official not under the control of the head of the agency) if a petition is filed as prescribed by §1450.22.

(8) The method and time period for petitioning for a hearing;

(9) That the timely filing of a petition for hearing will stay the commencement of collection proceedings;

(10) That a final decision on the hearing (if one is requested) will be issued at the earliest practical date, but not later than 60 days after the filing of the petition requesting the hearing unless the employee requests and the hearing official grants a delay in the proceedings;

(11) That any knowingly false, misleading, or frivolous statements, representations, or evidence may subject the employee to:

(i) Disciplinary procedures appropriate under chapter 75 of title 5, U.S.C., part 752 of title 5, CFR, or any other applicable status or regulations;

(ii) Penalties under the False Claims Act sections 3729-3731 of title 31, U.S.C., or any other applicable statutory authority; or

(iii) Criminal penalties under sections 286, 287, 1001, and 1002 of title 18, U.S.C., or any other applicable statutory authority.

(12) Any other right and remedies available to the employee under statutes or regulations governing the program for which the collection is being made; and

(13) Unless there are applicable contractual or statutory provisions to the contrary, that amounts paid on or deducted for the debt which are later waived or found not owned to the United States will be promptly refunded to the employee.

(b) Notifications under this section shall be hand delivered with a record made of the date and time of delivery, or shall be mailed by certified mail return receipt requested.

(c) No notification, hearing, written responses or final decisions under this regulation are required of FMCS for any adjustment to pay arising out of an employee's election of coverage under a Federal benefit program requiring periodic deductions from pay, if the amount to be recovered was accumulated over four pay periods or less.

§1450.22   Hearing.

(a) Petition for hearing. (1) A hearing may be requested by filing a written petition with the Director, Financial Management Staff of FMCS, or such other official as may be named in the future by the Director of FMCS, stating why the employee believes the determination of the agency concerning the existence or the amount of the debt is in error.

(2) The employee's petition must be signed by the employee and fully identify and explain with reasonable specificity all the facts, evidence and witnesses, if any, which the employee believes support his or her position.

(3) The petition must be filed no later than fifteen (15) calendar days from the date that the notification was hand delivered or the date of delivery by certified mail, return receipt requested.

(4) If a petition is received after the fifteen (15) calendar day deadline referred to above, FMCS will nevertheless accept the petition if the employee can show that the delay was because of circumstances beyond his or her control, or because of failure to receive notice of the time limit (unless otherwise aware of it).

(5) If a petition is not filed within the time limit specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, and is not accepted pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) of this section, the employee's right to hearing will be considered waived, and salary offset will be implemented by FMCS.

(b) Type of hearing. (1) The form and content of the hearing will be determined by the hearing official who shall be a person outside the control or authority of FMCS. In determining the type of hearing, the hearing officer will consider the nature and complexity of the transaction giving rise to the debt. The hearing may be conducted as an informal conference or interview, in which the agency and employee will be given a full opportunity to present their respective positions, or as a more formal proceeding involving the presentation of evidence, arguments and written submissions.

(2) The employee may represent himself or herself, or may be represented by an attorney.

(3) The hearing official shall maintain a summary record of the hearing.

(4) The decision of the hearing officer will be in writing, and will state:

(i) The facts purported to evidence the nature and origin of the alleged debt;

(ii) The hearing official's analysis, findings, and conclusions, in the light of the hearing, as to—

(A) The employee's and/or agency's grounds,

(B) The amount and validity of the alleged debt and,

(C) The repayment schedule, if applicable.

(5) The decision of the hearing official shall constitute the final administrative decision of the agency.

§1450.23   Deduction from pay.

(a) Deduction by salary offset, from an employee's current disposable pay, shall be subject to the following conditions:

(1) Ordinarily, debts to the United States should be collected in full, in one lump-sum. This will be done when funds are available. However, if funds are unavailable for payment in one lump sum, or if the amount of the debt exceeds 15 percent of disposable pay for an officially established pay interval, collection will normally be made in installments.

(2) The installments shall not exceed 15 percent of the disposable pay from which the deduction is made, unless the employee has agreed in writing to the deduction of a greater amount.

(3) Deduction will generally commence with the next full pay interval (ordinarily the next biweekly pay period) following written consent by the employee to salary offset, waiver of hearing, or the decision issued by the hearing officer.

(4) Installment deductions must be made over a period not greater than the anticipated period of employment except as provided in §1450.24.

§1450.24   Liquidation from final check or recovery from other payment.

(a) If the employee retires or resigns or if his or her employment or period of active duty ends before collection of the debt is completed, offset of the entire remaining balance on the debt may be made from a final payment of any nature, including but not limited to, final salary payment or lump-sum leave due to the employee as of the date of separation.

(b) If the debt cannot be liquidated by offset from a final payment, offset may be made from later payments of any kind due from the United States, including, but not limited to, the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, pursuant to §1450.11 of this regulation.

§1450.25   Non-waiver of rights by payments.

An employee's involuntary payment of all or any portion of a debt being collected under 5 U.S.C. 5514 shall not be construed as a waiver of any rights which the employee may have under 5 U.S.C. 5514 or any other provision of contract or law, unless statutory or contractual provisions provide to the contrary.

§1450.26   Refunds.

(a) Refunds shall promptly be made when—

(1) A debt is waived or otherwise found not owing to the United States (unless expressly prohibited by statute or regulation); or

(2) The employee's paying agency is directed by an administrative or judicial order to refund amounts deducted from his or her current pay.

(b) Refunds do not bear interest unless required or permitted by law or contract.

§1450.27   Interest, penalties, and administrative costs.

The assessment of interest, penalties and administrative costs shall be in accordance with subpart D of this regulation.

§1450.28   Recovery when paying agency is not creditor agency.

(a) Responsibilities of creditor agency. Upon completion of the procedures established under 5 U.S.C. 5514, the creditor agency must do the following:

(1) The creditor agency must certify, in writing, that the employee owes the debt, the amont and basis of the debt, the date on which payment(s) is due, the date the Government's right to collect the debt first accrued, and that the creditor agency's regulations implementing 5 U.S.C. 5514 have been approved by OPM.

(2) If the collection must be made in installments, the creditor agency also must advise the paying agency of the number of installments to be collected, the amount of each installment, and the commencing date of the first installment (if a date other than the next officially established pay period is required).

(3) Unless the employee has consented to the salary offset in writing or signed a statement acknowledging receipt of the required procedures, and the written consent or statement is forwarded to the paying agency, the creditor agency also must advise the paying agency of the action(s) taken under 5 U.S.C. 5514(b) and give the date(s) the action(s) was taken.

(4) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the creditor agency must submit a debt claim containing the information specified in paragraphs (a) (1) through (3) of this section and an installment agreement (or other instruction on the payment schedule), if applicable to the employee's paying agency.

(5) If the employee is in the process of separating, the creditor agency must submit its claim to the employee's paying agency for collection pursuant to §1450.24. The paying agency must certify the total amount of its collection and provide copies to the creditor agency and the employee as stated in paragraph (c)(1) of this section. If the paying agency is aware that the employee is entitled to payments from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, or other similar payments, it must provide written notification to the agency responsible for making such payments that the debtor owes a debt (including the amount) and that the provisions of this section have been fully compiled with. However, the creditor agency must submit a properly certified claim to the agency responsible for making such payments before collection can be made.

(6) If the employee is already separated and all payments from his or her former paying agency have been paid, the creditor agency may request, unless otherwise prohibited, that money due and payable to the employee from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (5 CFR 831.1801 et seq.), or other similar funds, be administratively offset to collect the debt. (31 U.S.C. 3716 and 102.4 FCCS.)

(b) Responsibilities of paying agency—(1) Complete claim. When the paying agency receives a properly certified debt claim from a creditor agency, deductions should be scheduled to begin prospectively at the next officially established pay interval. The employee must receive written notice that the paying agency has received a certified debt claim from the creditor agency (including the amount) and written notice of the date deductions from salary will commence and of the amount of such deductions.

(2) Incomplete claim. When the paying agency receives an incomplete debt claim from a creditor agency, the paying agency must return the debt claim with a notice that procedures under 5 U.S.C. 5514 and this subpart must be provided, and a properly certified debt claim received, before action will be taken to collect from the employee's current pay account.

(3) Review. The paying agency is not required or authorized to review the merits of the creditor agency's determination with respect to the amount or validity of the debt certified by the creditor agency.

(c) Employees who transfer from one paying agency to another. (1) If, after the creditor agency has submitted the debt claim to the employee's paying agency, the employee transfers to a position served by a different paying agency before the debt is collected in full, the paying agency from which the employee separates must certify the total amount of the collection made on the debt. One copy of the certification must be furnished to the employee, another to the creditor agency along with notice of employee's transfer. However, the creditor agency must submit a properly certified claim to the new paying agency before collection can be resumed.

(2) When an employee transfers to another paying agency, the creditor agency need not repeat the due process procedures described by 5 U.S.C. 5514 and this subpart to resume the collection. However, the creditor agency is responsible for reviewing the debt upon receiving the former paying agency's notice of the employee's transfer to make sure the collection is resumed by the new paying agency.

Subpart D—Interest, Penalties, and Administrative Costs

§1450.29   Assessment.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (h) of this section, or §1450.30, FMCS shall assess interest, penalties and administrative costs on debts owed to the United States pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3717. Before assessing these charges, FMCS will mail or hand-deliver a written notice to the debtor. This notice shall include a statement of the agency's requirements concerning these charges. (Sections 1450.9 and 1450.21).

(b) Interest shall accrue from the date on which notice of the debt and the interest requirements is first mailed or hand-delivered to the debtor, using the most current address that is available to the agency. If FMCS should use an “advance billing” procedure—that is, if it mails a bill before the debt is actually owed—it can include the required interest notification in the advance billing, but interest may not start to accrue before the debt is actually owed. FMCS will exercise care to insure that the notices required by this section are dated and mailed or hand-delivered on the same day.

(c) The rate of interest assessed shall be the rate of the current value of funds to the United States Treasury (i.e., the Treasury tax and loan account rate), as prescribed and published by the Secretary of the Treasury in the Federal Register and the Treasury Fiscal Requirements Manual Bulletins annually or quarterly, in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3717. FMCS may assess a higher rate of interest if it reasonably determines that a higher rate is necessary to protect the interests of the United States. The rate of interest, as initially assessed, shall remain fixed for the duration of the indebtedness except that where a debtor has defaulted on a repayment agreement and seeks to enter into a new agreement, FMCS may set a new interest rate which reflects the current value of funds to the Treasury at the time the new agreement is executed. Interest will not be assessed on interest, penalties, or administrative costs required by this section. However, if the debtor defaults on a previous repayment agreement, charges which accrued but were not collected under the defaulted agreement shall be added to the principal to be paid under a new repayment agreement.

(d) FMCS shall assess against a debtor charges to cover administrative costs incurred as a result of a delinquent debt—that is, the additional costs incurred in processing and handling the debt because it became delinquent. Calculation of administrative costs shall be based upon actual costs incurred or upon cost analyses establishing an average of actual additional costs incurred by the agency in processing and handling claims against other debtors in similar stages of delinquency. Administrative costs may include costs incurred in obtaining a credit report or in using a private debt collector, to the extent they are attributable to delinquency.

(e) FMCS shall assess a penalty charge, not to exceed 6 percent a year, on any portion of a debt that is delinquent for more than 90 days. This charge need not be calculated until the 91st day of delinquency, but shall accure from the date that the debt became delinquent.

(f) When a debt is paid in partial or installment payments, amounts received by the agency shall be applied first to outstanding penalty and administrative cost charges, second to accrued interest, and third to outstanding principal.

(g) FMCS will waive the collection of interest on the debt or any portion of the debt which is paid within 30 days after the date on which interest began to accrue. FMCS may extend this 30-day period, on a case-by-case basis, if it reasonably determines that such action is appropriate. Also, FMCS may waive, in whole or in part, the collection of interest, penalties, and/or administrative costs assessed under this section under the criteria specified in part 103 of the Federal Claims Collection Standards (4 CFR part 103) relating to the compromise of claims (without regard to the amount of the debt), or if the agency determines that collection of these charges would be against equity and good conscience, or not in the best interests of the United States. Waiver under the first sentence of this paragraph (g) is mandatory. Under the second and third sentences, it may be exercised under the following circumstances:

(1) Waiver of interest pending consideration of a request for reconsideration, administrative review, or waiver of the underlying debt under a permissive statute, and

(2) Waiver of interest where FMCS has accepted an installment plan, there is no indication of fault or lack of good faith on the part of the debtor, and the amount of interest is large enough in relation to the size of the installments that the debtor can reasonably afford to pay, that the debt will never be repaid.

(h) Where a mandatory waiver or review statute applies, interest and related charges may not be assessed for those periods during which collection action must be suspended under §104.2(c)(1) of the Federal Claims Collection Standards (4 CFR part 104).

§1450.30   Exemptions.

(a) The provisions of 31 U.S.C. 3717 to not apply:

(1) To debts owed by any State or local government;

(2) To debts arising under contracts which were executed prior to, and were in effect on (i.e., were not completed as of), October 25, 1982;

(3) To debts where an applicable statute, regulation required by statute, loan agreement, or contract either prohibits such charges or explicitly fixes the charges that apply to the debts arising under the Social Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or the tariff laws of the United States.

(b) However, FMCS is authorized to assess interest and related charges on debts which are not subject to 31 U.S.C. 3717 to the extent authorized under the common law or other applicable statutory authority.

§1450.31   Other sanctions.

The sanctions stated in this subpart are not intended to be exclusive. Other sanctions which may be imposed by the Director of FMCS include placement of the debtor's name on a list of debarred, suspended or ineligible contractors or grantees; conversion of method of payment under a grant from an advance payment method to a reimbursement method; or revocation of a letter of credit. Notice will be given by FMCS to the debtor regarding the imposition of such other sanctions.

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