29 CFR § 20.21 - Agency responsibilities.

§ 20.21 Agency responsibilities.

(a) Each Department of Labor agency which has delinquent debts owed under its program is responsible for collecting its claims by means of administrative offset, in accordance with guidelines established by the Chief Financial Officer.

(b) Before collecting a claim by means of administrative offset, the responsible agency must ensure that administrative offset is feasible, allowable and appropriate, and must notify the debtor of the Department's policies for collecting a claim by means of administrative offset.

(c) Whether collection by administrative offset is feasible is a determination to be made by the creditor agency on a case-by-case basis, in the exercise of sound discretion. Agencies shall consider not only whether administrative offset can be accomplished, both practically and legally, but also whether offset is best suited to further and protect all of the Government's interests. In appropriate circumstances, agencies may give due consideration to the debtor's financial condition, and are not required to use offset in every instance in which there is an available source of funds. Agencies may also consider whether offset would substantially interfere with or defeat the purposes of the program authorizing the payments against which offset is contemplated.

(d) Before advising the debtor that the delinquent debt will be subject to administrative offset, the agency head (or designee) responsible for administering the program under which the debt arose shall review the claim and determine that the debt is valid and overdue. In the case where a debt arises under the programs of two or more Department of Labor agencies, or in such other instances as the Chief Financial Officer, or his or her designee, may deem appropriate, the Chief Financial Officer, or his or her designee, may determine which agency (or agencies), or official (or officials), shall have responsibility for carrying out the provisions of this subpart.

(e) Administrative offset shall be considered by agencies only after attempting to collect a claim under Section 3(a) of the Federal Claims Collection Act, except that no claim under this Act that has been outstanding for more than 10 years after the Government's right to collect the debt first accrued may be collected by means of administrative offset, unless facts material to the right to collect the debt were not known and could not reasonably have been known by the official of the Agency who was charged with the responsibility to discover and collect such debts. When the debt first accrued should be determined according to existing laws regarding the accrual of debts, such as under 28 U.S.C. 2415.