(a)Purpose. This regulation prescribes Department of the Army (DA) policy, responsibilities, and procedures in handling debt claims against soldiers.
(b)References. Required and related publications and prescribed and referenced forms are listed in appendix A.
(c)Explanation of abbreviations and terms. Abbreviations and special terms used in this regulation are explained in the glossary.
(1) The Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel will set policy on processing debt claims against soldiers.
(2) The Commanding General, U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center (CG, USACFSC) will—
(i) Set procedures for processing debt claims against soldiers.
(ii) Process debt claims received at USACFSC regarding soldiers.
(iii) Carry out the objectives of this regulation to protect the rights of the soldier, his or her family members, and the interests of the Army.
(iv) Advise and assist the directors of Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) agencies, commanders of the major Army commands, and other commanders on matters pertaining to indebtedness of soldiers.
(3) Officers having general court-martial jurisdiction will—
(i) Ensure special emphasis on the indebtedness issue is given in command information programs. This includes soldiers being informed of their responsibility to manage their personal affairs satisfactorily and pay their debts promptly. Also, inform soldiers of the possible consequences of failure to pay their debts.
(ii) Take action on requests to file unfavorable information in a soldier's official personnel file. (See § 513.3.)
(4) First level field grade commanders will monitor instances of soldiers' repeated failure to pay debts that are brought to their attention. These commanders will take action, when proper.
(5) Immediate commanders will—
(i) Ensure that soldiers are informed of the following:
(A) DA policy on indebtedness.
(B) The possible consequences of failure to pay their debts.
(ii) Manage the processing of debt claims per the terms of this regulation.
(iii) Answer all correspondence received from CG, USACFSC and other DA officials.
(iv) Answer all correspondence received directly from claimants and third parties (for example, Members of Congress). The commander will not include unreleasable information without the soldier's written consent. This complies with the Privacy Act of 1974. (See AR 340-21.) Commanders should ask the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) for guidance in unusual or difficult situations.
(v) Inform the first level field grade commander of instances of soldiers' repeated failure to pay their debts. Also, point out actions taken or contemplated to correct the situation.
(vi) Refer correspondence or queries received from news media organizations to the unit, installation, or command public affairs officer for response.
(6) The unit, installation, or command public affairs officer will—
(i) Answer correspondence and queries received from news media organizations.
(ii) Coordinate with the SJA before making any response.
(1) Soldiers are required to manage their personal affairs satisfactorily and pay their debts promptly. Failure to do so damages their credit reputation and affects the Army's public image. The Army, however, has no legal authority to force soldiers to pay their debts. Also, the Army cannot divert any part of a soldier's pay even though payment of the debt was decreed by a civil court. Only civil authorities can enforce payment of private debts.
(2) Debt claims against corporations and organizations to which a soldier belongs, or of which a soldier is an officer, will not be processed under this regulation. In this situation, the matter should be pursued in civil court. If a judgment is received specifically against the soldier, then this regulation will apply.
(3) Creditors who follow § 513.4 will have their debt complaints processed.
(4) Requests for help that do not follow § 513.4 will be returned without action with an explanation as discussed in § 513.4(d).
(5) The Army will revoke debt processing privileges for creditors who—
(i) Refuse to abide by this regulation.
(ii) Try to use the Army as a debt collection agency. (See § 513.4(e)).
(6) The Army does not try to judge or settle disputed debts, or admit or deny whether claims are valid. The Army will not tell claimants whether any adverse action has been taken against a soldier as a result of the claim.
(7) If a soldier is not trying to resolve unpaid debts promptly or complaints of repeated failure to pay debts are received, commanders will consider the actions shown below. (See §§ 513.2(a)(3)(xv) and 513.3.)
(i) Making the failure a matter of permanent record.
(ii) Denial of reenlistment (enlisted personnel).
(iii) Administrative separation from the Service.
(iv) Punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). When proper, such misconduct may be charged under articles 92, 123, 133, or 134 of the UCMJ.
(8) Checks that are dishonored for any reason remain proof of indebtedness until—
(i) Made good.
(ii) Proven to be the error of the financial institution on which drawn, or the error of any other person or institution; such action then absolves the soldier of fault. (See § 513.2(c).)
(9) When necessary, commanders and soldiers are urged to seek help from the SJA.
(f)Banks and credit unions.
(1) Banks and credit unions located on military bases must apply Department of Defense (DOD) Standards of Fairness (app B) before making loans or credit agreements. Banks and credit unions that do not meet this requirement will be denied help in processing debt complaints.
(2) If soldiers are referred to off-base branches of an on-post bank or credit union, the branches also must comply with the Standards of Fairness before making loans or credit agreements.
(3) Interest rates and service charges for loans made by oversea military banking facilities are set by DOD.
(g)Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (section 1692, title 15, United States Code (15 U.S.C. 1692)).
(1) A debt collector may not contact any person other than the soldier, his or her lawyer or legal counsel, or the creditor about any debt collection. The debt collector, however, may contact the employer if he or she has a written and signed consent from the soldier, or a court order permitting contact. The written consent must include the debt collector's name. It is illegal for debt collectors to use another name when collecting debts.
(2) Debt collectors who have obtained the needed written consent or court order and who have followed § 513.4 will have their debt complaints processed.
(3) Creditors who collect only on their own behalf are exempt from the Act.
(h)Individual repayment plan of the Bankruptcy Act. Chapter XIII of the Bankruptcy Act (11 U.S.C. 1301, et seq.) provides for the protection and relief of individuals with a regular income. It also sets rules for paying debts under the supervision of U.S. Federal District Courts. Care must be taken not to confuse “bankruptcy” and “individual repayment plans” in order not to infringe on the rights of the soldier.
(1) Installations will honor requests for central locator service by a banking office (AR 210-135) or credit union (AR 210-24) located on a military installation. This service will be free when banking offices and credit unions cite AR 37-60. This service will be used to locate persons for settling accounts, checks that did not clear, and delinquent loans. The U.S. Army Finance and Accounting Center (USAFAC), Indianapolis, IN 46249-1016, will assist these banking offices and credit unions to locate soldiers who cannot be located locally.
(2) Current military addresses for all soldiers may be obtained by writing the Commander, U.S. Army Enlisted Records and Evaluation Center, Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN 46249-5301. All requests must include the soldier's full name, rank, and social security number (SSN). They should include the date and place of birth if the SSN is not known. A check or money order for $3.50 payable to the Treasurer of the United States must be enclosed with each request. (See AR 37-60.)
(3) A debt collector should not write to the U.S. Army Enlisted Records and Evaluation Center (USAEREC) if he or she knows the soldier is represented by a civilian lawyer or military legal counsel. However, the debt collector may write to USAEREC if he or she—
(i) Does not know or cannot easily find out the name and address of the lawyer or legal counsel.
(ii) Does not receive a response from the lawyer or legal counsel.
(4) If a debt collector writes to USAEREC, a postcard cannot be used. Also, the request cannot state that the locator service is being sought in order to collect a debt. These actions would violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (§ 513.1(g)).
[51 FR 7269, Mar. 3, 1986; 51 FR 8824, Mar. 14, 1986, as amended at 51 FR 17961, May 16, 1986]
Title 32 published on 2013-07-01
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