Title 5

SECTION 179.212

179.212 Procedures for salary offset.

§ 179.212 Procedures for salary offset.

(a) The Director or his or her designee shall coordinate salary deductions under this subpart.

(b) OPM payroll office shall determine the amount of an employee's disposable pay and implement the salary offset.

(c) Deductions shall begin effective the pay period following receipt by OPM's payroll office of proper certification of the debt (§ 179.208).

(d) Types of collection - (1) Lump-sum payment. A debt will be collected in a lump sum if possible. If an employee is financially unable to pay in one lump sum or the amount of the debt exceeds 15 percent of disposable pay for an officially established pay interval, collection must be made in installments.

(2) Installment deductions. Installment deductions will be made over a period not greater than the anticipated period of employment and, except in rare circumstances, not to exceed 3 years. The size and frequency of installment deductions will bear a reasonable relation to the size of the debt and the employee's ability to pay. The amount deducted for any period will not exceed 15 percent of the disposable pay from which the deduction is made unless the employee has agreed in writing to the deduction of a greater amount.

(3) Lump-sum deductions from final check. A lump-sum deduction exceeding the 15 percent disposable pay limitation may be made from any final salary payment pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3716 in order to liquidate the debt, whether the employee is being separated voluntarily or involuntarily.

(4) Lump-sum deductions from other sources. When an employee subject to salary offset is separated from OPM and the balance of the debt cannot be liquidated by offset of the final salary check, the Office, pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3716, the FCCS and OPM's implementing regulations, may offset the balance of the debt against any financial payment due the employee from the U.S. Government.

(e) Multiple debts. In instances where two or more creditor agencies are seeking salary offset, or where two or more debts are owed to a single creditor agency, OPM payroll office may, at its discretion, determine whether one or more debts should be offset simultaneously within the 15 percent limitation.

(f) Precedence of debts owed to OPM. For OPM employees, debts owed to the Office generally take precedence over debts owed to other agencies. In the event that a debt to the Office is certified while an employee is subject to a salary offset to repay another agency, the OPM payroll office may decide whether to have that debt repaid in full before collecting its claim or whether changes should be made in the salary deduction being sent to the other agency. If debts owed the Office can be collected in one pay period, the payroll office may suspend the salary offset to the other agency for that pay period in order to liquidate the office debt.

(g) When an employee owes two or more debts, the best interests of the Government shall be the primary consideration in determining the order of debt collection. The OPM payroll office, in making this determination, will be guided primarily by the statute of limitations that affects the collection of the debt(s).