(a) The standard “Equity and Good Conscience”, will be applied when the facts and circumstances in a particular case indicate a need for reasonableness and moderation in the exercise of the Government's rights. The decision reached should not be unduly favorable or adverse to either side. The phrase equity and good conscience means arriving at a fair decision between the obligor and the Government. In making this determination, consideration will be given to the following elements, which are not intended to be all inclusive:
(1) Fault of debtor. Where actions of the debtor contribute to creation of the debt.
(2) Balancing of faults. Weighing fault of debtor against Department of Veterans Affairs fault.
(3) Undue hardship. Whether collection would deprive debtor or family of basic necessities.
(4) Defeat the purpose. Whether withholding of benefits or recovery would nullify the objective for which benefits were intended.
(5) Unjust enrichment. Failure to make restitution would result in unfair gain to the debtor.
(6) Changing position to one's detriment. Reliance on Department of Veterans Affairs benefits results in relinquishment of a valuable right or incurrence of a legal obligation.
(b) In applying this single standard for all areas of indebtedness, the following elements will be considered, any indication of which, if found, will preclude the granting of waiver:
(1) Fraud or misrepresentation of a material fact (see § 1.962(b) ).
(2) Bad faith. This term generally describes unfair or deceptive dealing by one who seeks to gain thereby at another's expense. Thus, a debtor's conduct in connection with a debt arising from participation in a VA benefits/services program exhibits bad faith if such conduct, although not undertaken with actual fraudulent intent, is undertaken with intent to seek an unfair advantage, with knowledge of the likely consequences, and results in a loss to the government.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5302(c))
[39 FR 26400, July 19, 1974, as amended at 58 FR 3841, Jan. 12, 1993; 58 FR 7296, Feb. 5, 1993; 69 FR 62202, Oct. 25, 2004]
Title 38 published on 2013-07-01
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