34 CFR 31.5 - Request for hearing on the debt or the proposed offset.
(1) The Secretary provides a hearing before offset on the existence, amount, or enforceability of the debt described in the pre-offset notice provided under § 31.3, or on the amount or frequency of the offsets as proposed in that notice, if the employee -
(i) Files a request for the hearing within the later of -
(A) 65 days after the date of the pre-offset notice provided under § 31.3; or
(B) 15 days after the date on which the Secretary makes available to the employee the relevant, requested documents if the employee had requested an opportunity to inspect and copy documents within 20 days of the date of the pre-offset notice provided under § 31.3; and
(ii) Files a request at the address specified in that notice.
(2) The Secretary provides a hearing upon request by the employee. However, if the employee does not submit, within the deadlines in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a request that meets the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, the Secretary does not delay the start of an offset, or suspend an offset already commenced, unless the employee submits evidence satisfactory to the Secretary that the request was not made in a timely manner because the employee did not have notice of the proposed offset, or was otherwise prevented from making the request by factors beyond his or her control, until after the deadlines had passed.
(b) Contents of request for a hearing. A request for a hearing must contain -
(1) All information provided to the employee in the pre-offset notice under § 31.3 that identifies the employee and the particular debt, including the employee's Social Security number and the program under which the debt arose, together with any corrections needed with regard to that identifying information;
(2) An explanation of the reasons why the employee believes that -
(i) The debt as stated in the pre-offset notice is not owing or is not enforceable by offset; or
(ii) The amount of the proposed offset described in the pre-offset notice will cause extreme financial hardship to the employee;
(3) If the employee contends that the amount of the proposed offset will cause extreme financial hardship under the standards set forth in § 31.8(b) -
(i) An alternative offset proposal;
(ii) An explanation, in writing, showing why the offset proposed in the notice would cause an extreme financial hardship for the employee; and
(iii) Documents that show for the employee and for the spouse and dependents of the employee, for the one-year period preceding the Secretary's notice and for the repayment period proposed by the employee in his or her offset schedule -
(A) Income from all sources,
(D) Number of dependents,
(E) Expenses for food, housing, clothing, and transportation,
(F) Medical expenses, and
(G) Exceptional expenses, if any; and
(4) Copies of all documents that the employee wishes to have considered to support the objections raised by the employee regarding the enforceability of the debt or the claim of extreme financial hardship.
(c) Request for oral hearing.
(1) If the employee wants the hearing to be conducted as an oral hearing, the employee must submit a request that contains the information listed in paragraph (b) and must include with the request -
(i) An explanation of reasons why the employee believes that the issues raised regarding the enforceability of the debt or a claim of extreme financial hardship cannot be resolved adequately by a review of the written statements and documents provided with the request for a hearing;
(ii) An identification of -
(A) The individuals that the employee wishes to have testify at the oral hearing;
(B) The specific issues about which each individual is prepared to testify; and
(C) The reasons why each individual's testimony is necessary to resolve the issue.
(2) The Secretary grants a request for an oral hearing if -
(i) The employee files a request for an oral hearing that meets the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section; and
(ii) The Secretary determines that the issues raised by the employee require a determination of the credibility of testimony and cannot be adequately resolved by a review of the written statements and documents submitted by the employee and documents contained in the Department's records relating to the debt.
(3) The Secretary may decline a request for an oral hearing if the Secretary accepts the employee's proffer of testimomy made in the request for an oral hearing under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, and considers the facts at issue to be established as stated by the employee in the request.
(4) If the Secretary grants a request for an oral hearing, the Secretary -
(i) Notifies the employee in writing of -
(A) The date, time, and place of the hearing;
(B) The name and address of the hearing official;
(C) The employee's right to be represented at the hearing by counsel or other representatives;
(D) The employee's right to present and cross-examine witnesses; and
(E) The employee's right to waive the requested oral hearing and receive a hearing in the written record; and
(ii) Provides the hearing official with a copy of all written statements submitted by the employee with the request for a hearing, and all documents pertaining to the debt or the amount of the offset contained in the Department's files on the debt or submitted with the request for a hearing.
(d) Employee choice of oral hearing or hearing on written submissions. An employee who has been sent notice under paragraph (c)(4) that an oral hearing will be provided must, within 15 days of the date of that notice, state in writing to the hearing official and the Secretary -
(1) Whether the employee intends to proceed with the oral hearing, or wishes a decision based on the written record; and
(2) Any changes in the list of the witnesses the employee proposes to produce for the hearing, or the facts about which a witness will testify.
(e) Dismissal of request for hearing. The Secretary considers the employee to have waived the request for a hearing of any kind -
(1) If an employee does not provide the hearing official in a timely manner the written statement required under paragraph (d) of this section; or
(2) If the employee does not appear for a scheduled oral hearing.