View all text of Part 267 [§ 267.1 - § 267.6]

§ 267.5 - Salary offset.

(a) Applicability. (1) This section covers government-wide collection of a delinquent debt by administrative offset under 5 U.S.C. 5514 from salary payments of federal government employees other than current Board employees.

(2) This section does not apply where an employee consents to the recovery of a debt from his or her federal government salary.

(b) Notice. A Federal Government employee from whom the Board proposes to collect a debt under this section will be provided written notice from the Board at least 30 days before any deductions begin. Such notice will state:

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

(2) The Board's intention to collect the debt by means of deduction from the employee's disposable pay (as defined in 5 CFR 550.1103);

(3) The frequency and amount of the intended deduction (stated as a fixed dollar amount or as a percentage of pay), and the Board's intention to continue the deductions until the debt is paid in full or otherwise resolved;

(4) An explanation of the Board's policy concerning interest, penalties, and administrative costs, including a statement that such assessments must be made unless excused in accordance with the Federal Claims Collections Standards published in 31 CFR parts 900 through 904;

(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 personally inspect the records, to request and receive a copy of such records;

(6) If not previously provided, the opportunity (under terms agreeable to Board) 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;

(7) The employee's right to a hearing conducted by an official arranged by the Board if a petition is filed as prescribed by the Board;

(8) The method and time period for petitioning for a hearing, including the contact information of the official to whom such a petition should be sent;

(9) That the timely filing of a petition for a 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 or frivolous statements, representations, or evidence may subject the employee to:

(i) Disciplinary procedures appropriate under chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code, part 752 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, or any other applicable statutes or regulations;

(ii) Penalties under the False Claims Act, sections 3729 through 3731 of title 31, United States Code, or any other applicable statutory authority; or

(iii) Criminal penalties under sections 286, 287, 1001, and 1002 of title 18, United States Code or any other applicable statutory authority.

(12) Any other rights 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 owed to the United States will be promptly refunded to the employee.

(c) Petitions for hearing—(1) Time to petition. A Federal Government employee from whom the Board proposes to collect a debt under this section may request a hearing concerning the existence or amount of the debt or the offset schedule established by the Board by sending a written petition addressed to the official designated in the notice described in paragraph (b) of this section on or before the fifteenth day following receipt of such notice. A hearing will be granted on a petition that is not filed within such period only if the petitioner shows 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). In all other cases of late or non-filing of such a petition, the employee will be deemed to have waived the right to a hearing and will be subject to salary offset under this section.

(2) Contents of petition. The petition must:

(i) Be signed by the employee;

(ii) State why the employee believes the Board's determination concerning the existence of amount of the debt is in error;

(iii) Fully identify and explain with reasonable specificity all the facts, evidence and witnesses, if any, which the employee believes support his or her position.

(iv) Specify, if the employee desires an oral hearing, why the matter cannot be resolved by a paper hearing, which is a determination based upon a review of a written record, for example, because the existence or amount of the debt depends on the hearing official's determination of the credibility of witnesses.

(d) Form of hearings—(1) Hearing official. A hearing under this section will be conducted by an administrative law judge or another individual not under the supervision or control of the Board.

(2) Notice of hearing. After the employee requests a hearing, the hearing official must issue a notice to the employee and the Board of the type of hearing that will occur. If an oral hearing will occur, the notice will state the date, time, and location of the hearing. If a paper hearing will occur, the employee and the Board will be notified and required to submit evidence and arguments in writing to the hearing official by the date specified in the notice, after which the record will be closed. The employee's failure to appear for an oral hearing or timely submit evidence and arguments as provided for in the notice will be deemed a waiver of the right to a hearing unless the hearing official determines that the failure was due to good cause shown.

(3) Oral hearing. An employee who requests an oral hearing under this section will be provided such a hearing if the hearing official determines that the matter cannot be resolved by review of documentary evidence alone because an issue of credibility or veracity is involved. Where an oral hearing is appropriate, the hearing need not take the form of an evidentiary hearing, as long as both the employee and the Board are afforded a reasonable opportunity to present their case. Oral hearings may take the form of, but are not limited to:

(i) Informal meetings in which the employee and Board representative are given full opportunity to present evidence, witnesses, and argument;

(ii) Informal meetings in which the hearing official interviews the employee and Board representative; or

(iii) Formal written submissions with an opportunity for oral presentation.

(4) Paper hearing. If the hearing official determines that an oral hearing is not necessary, he or she will make the determination based upon a review of the formal written record, including any documentation submitted by the employee or the Board.

(5) Record. The hearing official shall maintain a summary record of any hearing conducted under this section.

(e) Decision on hearing. Unless the employee requests and the hearing official grants a delay in the proceedings, at the earliest practicable date, but in any event no later than 60 days after the filing of the petition requesting the hearing, the hearing official will issue a written decision to the employee. The decision will state the Board's position concerning the existence and amount of the debt, facts purporting to evidence the nature and origin of the alleged debt, the hearing official's analysis, findings and conclusions, in light of the hearing, as to the employee's and/or Board's grounds, the amount and validity of the debt as determined by the hearing official, and the repayment schedule, if not established by written agreement between the employee and the Board. If the hearing official determines that a debt may not be collected under this section, but the Board finds that the debt is still valid, the Board may still seek collection of the debt through other means, including but not limited to offset of other Federal payments.

(f) Deductions under this section. The method of collection under this section is salary offset from disposable pay (as defined in 5 CFR 550.1103), except as described in this paragraph. The size of installment deductions shall ordinarily bear a reasonable relationship to the size of the debt and the employee's ability to pay. However, the amount deducted for any period under this section may not exceed 15 percent of disposable pay, unless the employee has agreed in writing to the deduction of a greater amount or a higher deduction has been ordered by a court under section 124 of Public Law 97-276 (97 stat. 1195). Ordinarily, debts must be collected in one lump sum where possible. However, if the employee is financially unable to pay in one lump sum or the amount of the debt exceeds 15 percent of disposable pay (or other applicable limitation as provided in this paragraph) for an officially established pay interval, collection must be made in installments. Such installment deductions must be made over a period not greater than the anticipated period of active duty or employment, as the case may be, except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section.

(g) Separating or separated employees. 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 may be performed under 31 U.S.C. 3716 from subsequent payments of any nature (e.g. final salary payment, lump-sum leave, etc.) due the employee from the paying agency as of the date of separation to the extent necessary to liquidate the debt. Such offset may also be performed where appropriate against later payments of any kind due the former employee from the United States if the debt cannot be liquidated by offset from any final payment due the former employee as of the date of separation. Nothing in this section shall affect any limitation on alienation of benefits administered by the Federal Reserve System's Office of Employee Benefits.

(h) Non-waiver and refunds of payments. An employee's involuntary payment of all or any portion of a debt being collected under 5 U.S.C. 5514 must 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 there are statutory or contractual provisions to the contrary. Any amounts paid or deducted under this section will be promptly refunded when a debt is waived or otherwise found not owing to the United States (unless expressly prohibited by statute or regulation), or the employee's paying agency is directed by an administrative or judicial order to refund amounts deducted from his or her current pay. Refunds do not bear interest unless required or permitted by law or contract.