20 CFR § 422.829 - Federal salary offset.

§ 422.829 Federal salary offset.

(a) Referral to the Department of the Treasury for offset.

(1) The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) will recover overdue administrative debts by offsetting Federal payments due the debtor through the Treasury Offset Program (TOP). TOP is a government-wide delinquent debt matching and payment offset process operated by Treasury, whereby debts owed to the Federal Government are collected by offsetting them against Federal payments owed the debtor. Federal payments owed the debtor include current “disposable pay,” defined in 5 CFR 550.1103, owed by the Federal Government to a debtor who is an employee of the Federal Government. Deducting from such disposable pay to collect an overdue debt owed by the employee is called “Federal Salary Offset” in this subpart.

(2) Treasury will use Federal Salary Offset to collect overdue administrative debts from Federal employees, including employees of the Social Security Administration. A Federal employee's involuntary payment of all or part of a debt collected by Federal Salary Offset does not amount to a waiver of any rights that the employee may have under any statute or contract, unless a statute or contract provides for waiver of such rights.

(b) Debts we will refer. We will refer all qualifying administrative debts that meet or exceed the threshold amounts used by Treasury for collection from Federal payments, including Federal salaries.

(c) Notice to debtor. Before we refer any administrative debt for collection by Administrative Offset, we will send the debtor a notice that explains all of the following:

(1) The nature and amount of the debt;

(2) That we have determined that payment of the debt is overdue; and

(3) That we will refer the debt for Administrative Offset (except as provided in paragraph (c)(9) of this section) at the expiration of not less than 60 calendar days after the date of the notice unless, within that 60-day period:

(i) The debtor pays the full amount of the debt, or

(ii) The debtor takes any of the actions described in paragraphs (c)(6) or (c)(7) of this section.

(4) The frequency and amount of any Federal Salary Offset deduction (the payment schedule) expressed as a fixed dollar amount or percentage of disposable pay.

(5) The debtor may review or copy our records relating to the debt. If the debtor or his or her representative cannot personally review the records, the debtor may request and receive a copy of such records.

(6) The debtor may request a review of the debt by giving us evidence showing that the debtor does not owe all or part of the amount of the debt or that we do not have the right to collect it. The debtor may also request review of any payment schedule for Federal Salary Offset stated in the notice. If the debtor is an employee of the Federal Government and Federal Salary Offset is proposed, an official designated in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 5514(a)(2) will conduct the review.

(7) The debtor may request to repay the debt voluntarily through an installment payment plan.

(8) If the debtor knowingly furnishes any false or frivolous statements, representations, or evidence, the debtor may be subject to appropriate disciplinary procedures under applicable statutes or regulations when the debtor is a Federal employee.

(9) We will refer the debt for Federal Salary Offset at the expiration of not less than 60 calendar days after the date of the notice unless, within that 60 day period, the debtor takes any actions described in paragraphs (c)(3)(i), (c)(6), or (c)(7) of this section.

(d) Federal Salary Offset: amount, frequency and duration of deductions.

(1) Treasury may collect the overdue debt from an employee of the Federal Government through the deduction of an amount not to exceed 15 percent of the debtor's current disposable pay each payday.

(2) Federal Salary Offset will begin not less than 60 calendar days after the date of the notice to the debtor described in paragraph (c) of this section.

(3) Once begun, Federal Salary Offset will continue until Treasury recovers the full amount of the debt, the debt is otherwise resolved, or the debtor's Federal employment ceases, whichever occurs first.

(4) After Federal Salary Offset begins, the debtor may request a reduction in the amount deducted from disposable pay each payday. When Treasury determines that the amount deducted causes financial harm under the rules in § 422.833(j), they will reduce that amount. Treasury will not reduce the amount from the debtor's disposable pay if the debt was caused by:

(A) An intentional false statement by the debtor, or

(B) The debtor's willful concealment of, or failure to furnish, material information.

(2) “Willful concealment” means an intentional, knowing and purposeful delay in providing, or failure to reveal, material information.

(e) Refunds. Treasury will promptly refund to the debtor any amounts collected that the debtor does not owe. Refunds do not bear interest unless required or permitted by law or contract.