38 CFR § 1.955 - Regional office Committees on Waivers and Compromises.
(a)Delegation of authority and establishment.
(1)Sections 1.955et seq. are issued to implement the authority for waiver consideration found in 38 U.S.C. 5302 and 5 U.S.C. 5584 and the compromise authority found 38 U.S.C. 3720(a) and 31 U.S.C. 3711. The duties, delegations of authority, and all actions required of the Committees on Waivers and Compromises are to be accomplished under the direction of, and authority vested in, the Director of the regional office. Delegations of authority and limitations for waiver actions under 5 U.S.C. 5584 are set forth in § 1.963a of this part.
(2) There is established in each regional office, a Committee on Waivers and Compromises to perform the duties and assume the responsibilities delegated by §§ 1.956 and 1.957. The term regional office, as used in § 1.955et seq., includes VA Medical and Regional Office Centers and VA Centers where such are established.
(b)Selection. The Director shall designate the employees to serve as Chairperson, members, and alternates. Except upon specific authorization of the Under Secretary for Benefits, when workload warrants a full-time committee, such designation will be part-time additional duty upon call of the Chairperson.
(c)Control and staff. The administrative control of each Committee on Waivers and Compromises is the responsibility of the station's Fiscal Officer. However, the station Director has the authority to reassign the administrative control function to another station activity, rather than the Fiscal Officer, whenever the Director determines that such reassignment is appropriate. The quality control of the professional and clerical staff of the Committee is the responsibility of the Chairperson.
(d)Overall control. The Assistant Secretary for Management is delegated complete management authority, including planning, policy formulation, control, coordination, supervision, and evaluation of Committee operations.
(1) The Committee shall consist of a Chairperson and Alternate Chairperson and as many Committee members and alternate members as the Director may appoint. Members and alternates shall be selected so that in each of the debt claim areas (i.e., compensation, pension, education, insurance, loan guaranty, etc.) there are members and alternates with special competence and familiarity with the program area.
(2) When a claim is properly referred to the Committee for either waiver consideration or the consideration of a compromise offer, the Chairperson shall designate a panel from the available Committee members to consider the waiver request or compromise offer. If the debt for which the waiver request or compromise offer is made is $20,000 or less (exclusive or interest and administrative costs), the Chairperson will assign one Committee member as the panel. This one Committee member should have experience in the program area where the debt is located. The single panel member's decision shall stand as the decision of the Committee. If the debt for which the waiver request or compromise offer is made is more than $20,000 (exclusive of interest and administrative costs), the Chairperson shall assign two Committee members. One of the two members should be knowledgeable in the program area where the debt arose. If the two member panel cannot reach a unanimous decision, the Chairperson shall assign a third member of the Committee to the panel, or assign the case to three new members, and the majority vote shall determine the Committee decision.
(3) The assignment of a one or two member panel as described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section is applicable if the debtor files a Notice of Disagreement with a Committee decision to deny waiver. That is, if the Notice of Disagreement is filed with a decision by a one member panel to deny waiver of collection of a debt of $20,000 or less, then the Notice of Disagreement should also be assigned to one panel member. Likewise, a Notice of Disagreement filed with a decision by a two or three member panel to deny waiver of collection of a debt of more than $20,000 should also be assigned to a Committee panel of two members (three if these two members cannot agree). However, a Chairperson must assign the Notice of Disagreement to a different one, two, or three member panel than the panel that made the original Committee decision that is now the subject of the Notice of Disagreement.