(a) Agencies may terminate collection activity when:
(1) The agency is unable to collect any substantial amount through its own efforts or through the efforts of others;
(2) The agency is unable to locate the debtor;
(3) Costs of collection are anticipated to exceed the amount recoverable;
(4) The debt is legally without merit or enforcement of the debt is barred by any applicable statute of limitations;
(5) The debt cannot be substantiated; or
(6) The debt against the debtor has been discharged in bankruptcy.
(b) Before terminating collection activity, the agency should have pursued all appropriate means of collection and determined, based upon the results of the collection activity, that the debt is uncollectible. Termination of collection activity ceases active collection of the debt. The termination of collection activity does not preclude the agency from retaining a record of the account for purposes of:
(1) Selling the debt, if the Secretary determines that such sale is in the best interests of the United States;
(2) Pursuing collection at a subsequent date in the event there is a change in the debtor's status or a new collection tool becomes available;
(3) Offsetting against future income or assets not available at the time of termination of collection activity; or
(4) Screening future applicants for prior indebtedness.
(c) Generally, agencies shall terminate collection activity on a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy, regardless of the amount. Agencies may continue collection activity, however, subject to the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code, for any payments provided under a plan of reorganization. Offset and recoupment rights may survive the discharge of the debtor in bankruptcy and, under some circumstances, claims also may survive the discharge. For example, the claims of an agency that it is a known creditor of a debtor may survive a discharge if the agency did not receive formal notice of the proceedings. Agencies should seek legal advice from their agency counsel if they believe they have claims or offsets that may survive the discharge of a debtor.