45 CFR 30.29 - Suspension of collection activity.
(a) Generally. The Secretary may suspend collection activity on a debt when:
(1) The Department cannot locate the debtor;
(2) The debtor's financial condition is expected to improve; or
(3) The debtor has requested a waiver or review of the debt.
(b) Financial condition. Based on the current financial condition of a debtor, the Secretary may suspend collection activity on a debt when the debtor's future prospects justify retention of the debt for periodic review and collection activity, and:
(1) The applicable statute of limitations has not expired;
(2) Future collection can be effected by administrative offset, notwithstanding the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations for litigation of claims, with due regard to the 10-year limitation for administrative offset prescribed by 31 U.S.C. 3716(e)(1); or
(3) The debtor agrees to pay interest on the amount of the debt on which collection will be suspended, and such suspension is likely to enhance the debtor's ability to pay the full amount of the principal of the debt with interest at a later date.
(c) Waiver or review.
(1) The Secretary shall suspend collection activity during the time required for consideration of the debtor's request for waiver or administrative review of the debt if the statute under which the request is sought prohibits the Secretary from collecting the debt during that time.
(2) If the statute under which the waiver or administrative review request is sought does not prohibit collection activity pending consideration of the request, the Secretary may use discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to suspend collection. Collection action ordinarily will be suspended upon a request for waiver or review if the Secretary is prohibited by statute or regulation from issuing a refund of amounts collected prior to agency consideration of the debtor's request. However, collection will not be suspended when the Secretary determines that the request for waiver or review is frivolous or was made primarily to delay collection.
(d) Bankruptcy. Upon learning that a bankruptcy petition has been filed with respect to a debtor, in most cases the Secretary must suspend collection activity on the debt, pursuant to the provisions of 11 U.S.C. 362, 1201, and 1301, unless the Secretary can clearly establish that the automatic stay has been lifted or is no longer in effect. The Office of the General Counsel should be contacted immediately for legal advice, and the Secretary will take the necessary legal steps to ensure that no funds or money are paid by the Department to the debtor until relief from the automatic stay is obtained.