(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section and in § 1.982, an employee wishing a hearing on the existence or amount of the debt or on the proposed offset schedule must send such a request to the office which sent the notice of the debt. The employee must also specify whether an oral or paper hearing is requested. If an oral hearing is requested, the request should explain why the matter cannot be resolved by review of the documentary evidence. The request must be received by the office which sent the notice of the debt not later than 30 calendar days from the date of the notice.
(b) If the employee files a request for a hearing after the expiration of the 30 day period provided for in paragraph (a) of this section, VA may accept the request if the employee shows that the delay was because of circumstances beyond his or her control or because of failure to receive the written notice of the filing deadline (unless the employee has actual notice of the filing deadline).