45 CFR 33.3 - General rule.
(a) Whenever a delinquent debt is owed to the Department by an employee, the Secretary may, subject to paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section, involuntarily offset the amount of the debt from the employee's disposable pay.
(b) Unless provided by another statute pertaining to a particular type of debt (e.g., 42 U.S.C. 292r, Health professionals education, 42 U.S.C. 297b, Nurse education), the Department may not initiate salary offset to collect a debt more than 10 years after the Government's right to collect the debt first accrued, unless facts material to the Government's right to collect the debt were not known and could not reasonably have been known by the official or officials of the Government who were charged with the responsibility to discover and collect such debts.
(c) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, prior to initiating collection through salary offset under this part, the Secretary must first provide the employee with the following:
(1) Written notice of intent to offset as described in § 33.4; and
(2) An opportunity to petition for a hearing, and, if a hearing is provided, to receive a written decision from the hearing official within 60 days on the following issues:
(i) The determination of the Department concerning the existence or amount of the debt; and
(ii) The repayment schedule, unless it was established by written agreement between the employee and Department.
(d) The provisions of paragraph (c) of this section do not apply to:
(1) Any adjustment to pay arising out of an employee's election of coverage or a change in coverage under a federal benefits program requiring periodic deduction from pay, if the amount to be recovered was accumulated over four pay periods or less;
(2) A routine intra-agency adjustment of pay that is made to correct an overpayment of pay attributable to clerical or administrative errors or delays in processing pay documents, if the overpayment occurred within the four pay periods preceding the adjustment and, at the time of such adjustment, or as soon thereafter as practical, the individual is provided written notice of the nature and the amount of the adjustment and point of contact for contesting such adjustment; or
(3) Any adjustment to collect a debt amounting to $50 or less, if, at the time of such adjustment, or as soon thereafter as practical, the individual is provided written notice of the nature and the amount of the adjustment and a point of contact for contesting such adjustment.