38 CFR 1.929 - Reduction of debt through performance of work-study services.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section VA may allow an individual to reduce an indebtedness to the United States through offset of benefits to which the individual becomes entitled by performance of work-study services under 38 U.S.C. 3485 and 3537 when the debt arose by virtue of the individual's participation in a benefits program provided under any of the following:
(i) 38 U.S.C. chapter 30;
(ii) 38 U.S.C. chapter 31;
(iii) 38 U.S.C. chapter 32;
(iv) 38 U.S.C. chapter 34;
(v) 38 U.S.C. chapter 35;
(1) If there are more candidates for a work-study allowance than there are work-study positions available in the area in which the services are to be performed, VA will give priority to the candidates who are pursuing a program of education or rehabilitation.
(2) Only after all candidates in the area described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section either have been given work-study contracts or have withdrawn their request for contracts will VA offer contracts to those who are not pursuing a program of education or rehabilitation and who wish to reduce their indebtedness through performance of work-study services.
(4) VA shall not offer a contract to an individual if VA determines that the debt can be collected through other means such as collection in a lump sum, collection in installments as provided in § 1.917 or compromise as provided in § 1.918.
(c)Utilization. The work-study services to be performed under a debt-liquidation contract will be limited as follows:
(1) If the individual is concurrently receiving educational assistance in a program administered by VA, work-study services are limited to those allowed in the educational program under which the individual is receiving benefits.
(2) If the individual is not concurrently receiving educational assistance in a program administered by VA, the individual may perform only those work-study services and activities which are or were open to those students receiving a work-study allowance while pursuing a program of education pursuant to the chapter under which the debt was incurred.
(d)Contract to perform services.
(1) The work-study services performed to reduce indebtedness shall be performed pursuant to a contract between the individual and VA.
(2) The individual shall perform the work-study services required by the contract at the place or places designated by VA.
(4) The number of weeks in the contract will not exceed the lesser of -
(5) In determining the number of hours per week and the number of weeks under paragraphs (d)(3) and (d)(4) of this section necessary to liquidate the debt, VA will use the amount of the account receivable, including all accrued interest, administrative costs and marshall fees outstanding on the date the contract is offered to the individual and all accrued interest, administrative costs and marshall fees VA estimates will have become outstanding on the debt on the date the debt is to be liquidated.
(6) The contract will automatically terminate after the total amount of the individual's indebtedness described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section has been recouped, waived, or otherwise liquidated. An individual performing work-study services under a contract to liquidate a debt is released from the contract if the debt is liquidated by other means.
(7) The contract to perform work-study services for the purpose of liquidating indebtedness will be terminated if:
(i) The individual is liquidating his or her debt under this section while receiving either an educational assistance allowance for further pursuit of a program of education or a subsistence allowance for further pursuit of a program of rehabilitation;
(ii) The individual terminates or reduces the rate of pursuit of his or her program of education or rehabilitation; and
(8) VA may terminate the contract at any time the individual fails to perform the services required by the contract in a satisfactory manner.
(e)Reduction of indebtedness.
(1) In return for the individual's agreement to perform hours of services totaling not more than 40 times the number of weeks in the contract, VA will reduce the eligible person's outstanding indebtedness by an amount equal to the higher of -
(i) The hourly minimum wage in effect under section 6(a) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 times the number of hours the individual works; or
(ii) The hourly minimum wage under comparable law of the State in which the services are performed times the number of hours the individual works.
(2) VA will reduce the individual's debt by the amount of the money earned for the performance of work-study services after the completion of each 50 hours of services (or in the case of any remaining hours required by the contract, the amount for those hours).
(f)Suspension of collections by offset. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 1.912a, during the period covered by the work-study debt-liquidation contract with the individual, VA will ordinarily suspend the collection by offset of a debt described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. However, the individual may voluntarily permit VA to collect part of the debt through offset against other benefits payable while the individual is performing work-study services. If the contract is terminated before its scheduled completion date, and the debt has not been liquidated, collection through offset against other benefits payable will resume on the date the contract terminates.
(g)Payment for additional hours.
(1) If an individual, without fault on his or her part, performs work-study services for which payment may not be authorized, including services performed after termination of the contract, VA will pay the individual at the applicable hourly minimum wage for such services as the Director of the VA field station of jurisdiction determines were satisfactorily performed.
(2) The Director of the VA field station of jurisdiction shall determine whether the individual was without fault. In making this decision he or she shall consider all evidence of record and any additional evidence which the individual wishes to submit.