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e-CFR data is current as of January 25, 2021

Title 29Subtitle BChapter XIIPart 1450 → Subpart C

Title 29: Labor

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.

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§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.

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§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).

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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