§ 29.516 - Collection of overpayments.
(a) Means of collection. Collection of an overpayment may be made by means of offset under § 29.517, or under any statutory provision providing for offset of money due the debtor from the Federal Government including, but not limited to, Federal Benefit Payments. Collection may also be effected by referral to the Justice Department for litigation, as provided in § 29.520, or referral to a collection agency as provided in § 29.519, or by other means authorized by federal law.
(b) Additional charges. Interest, penalties, and administrative costs will be assessed on the overpayment in accordance with standards established in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and 31 CFR 901.9. Additional charges will be waived when required by the FCCS. The Department will waive the collection of interest on the overpayment pending the Benefits Administrator's consideration of a request for reconsideration and the Department's consideration of a request for waiver and/or compromise or the appeal of a reconsideration decision. In addition, such charges may be waived when the Department determines -
(1) Collection of those charges would be against equity and good conscience under the standards prescribed in §§ 29.523 through 29.525; or
(2) Waiver of those charges would be in the best interest of the United States.
(c) Collection in installments. (1) Whenever feasible, overpayments will be collected in one lump sum.
(2) However, installment payments may be effected when -
(i) The debtor establishes that he or she is financially unable to pay in one lump sum; or
(ii)(A) The benefit payable is insufficient to make collection in one lump sum;
(B) The debtor fails to respond to a demand for full payment; and
(C) Offset is available.
(d) Offset Amount. (1) The amount offset from a monthly Federal Benefit Payment will be the lesser of:
(i) The amount of the debt, including any interest, penalties and administrative costs;
(ii) An amount equal to 15 percent of the monthly Federal Benefit Payment; or
(iii) The amount, if any, by which the monthly Federal Benefit Payment exceeds $750.
(2) For purposes of this subsection, the “monthly Federal Benefit Payment” is the amount of the gross monthly benefit after any reductions or deductions required under law, including reductions made to recover overpayments of Federal Benefit Payments.
(e) Commencement of collection. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, collection will begin after the time limits for requesting further rights stated in §§ 29.512 through 29.514 expire and no such requests have been made, or after the Benefits Administrator and/or the Department have issued decisions on all timely requests for or appeals of those rights, unless failure to make an offset would substantially prejudice the Department's ability to collect the overpayment and the time before the payment is to be made does not reasonably permit the completion of the proceedings in §§ 29.511 through 29.514 or litigation. When offset begins without completion of the administrative review process, these procedures will be completed promptly, and amounts recovered by offset but later found not owed will be refunded promptly.
(2) The procedures identified in §§ 29.511 through 29.514 will not be applied when the overpayment is caused by -
(i) A retroactive adjustment in the periodic rate of annuity or any deduction taken from annuity when the adjustment is a result of the annuitant's election of different entitlements under law, if the adjustment is made within 120 days of the effective date of the election; or
(ii) interim estimated payments made before the formal determination of entitlement to annuity, if the amount is recouped from the total annuity payable on the first day of the month following the later of -
(A) The last interim payment or
(B) The date the formal determination is made.
(f) Collection of delinquent debts - (1) Debts delinquent over 180 days. The Benefits Administrator must refer all overpayment debts that are over 180 days delinquent to the Secretary for collection pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3711(g) and 3716, and 31 CFR part 901.
(2) Debts delinquent less than 180 days. Once an overpayment debt becomes delinquent, the Benefits Administrator should refer it to the Secretary for collection by centralized administrative offset pursuant to 31 CFR 901.3, unless collection of the debt by some other means is likely to occur in a more timely and efficient manner.
(3) Once a debt is referred under this subsection, the Benefits Administrator has no further obligation to collect the debt.