(a) Agencies may suspend collection activity on a debt when:
(1) The agency cannot locate the debtor;
(2) The debtor's financial condition is expected to improve; or
(3) The debtor has requested a waiver or review of the debt.
(b) Based on the current financial condition of the debtor, agencies may suspend collection activity on a debt when the debtor's future prospects justify retention of the debt for periodic review and collection activity and:
(1) The applicable statute of limitations has not expired; or
(2) Future collection can be effected by administrative offset, notwithstanding the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations for litigation of claims, with due regard to the 10-year limitation for administrative offset prescribed by 31 U.S.C. 3716(e)(1); or
(3) The debtor agrees to pay interest on the amount of the debt on which collection will be suspended, and such suspension is likely to enhance the debtor's ability to pay the full amount of the principal of the debt with interest at a later date.
(1) Agencies shall suspend collection activity during the time required for consideration of the debtor's request for waiver or administrative review of the debt if the statute under which the request is sought prohibits the agency from collecting the debt during that time.
(2) If the statute under which the request is sought does not prohibit collection activity pending consideration of the request, agencies may use discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to suspend collection. Further, an agency ordinarily should suspend collection action upon a request for waiver or review if the agency is prohibited by statute or regulation from issuing a refund of amounts collected prior to agency consideration of the debtor's request. However, an agency should not suspend collection when the agency determines that the request for waiver or review is frivolous or was made primarily to delay collection.
(d) When an agency learns that a bankruptcy petition has been filed with respect to a debtor, in most cases the collection activity on a debt must be suspended, pursuant to the provisions of 11 U.S.C. 362, 1201, and 1301, unless the agency can clearly establish that the automatic stay has been lifted or is no longer in effect. Agencies should seek legal advice immediately from their agency counsel and, if legally permitted, take the necessary legal steps to ensure that no funds or money are paid by the agency to the debtor until relief from the automatic stay is obtained.