[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 84 (Monday, May 2, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 24406-24407]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-10626]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 84 / Monday, May 2, 2011 / Proposed 
Rules

[[Page 24406]]



OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Part 550

RIN 3206-AM14


Collection by Offset From Indebted Government Employees

AGENCY: U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Proposed rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing 
proposed regulations to eliminate the 10-year statute of limitations on 
collection of debt by administrative offset, which includes centralized 
salary offset. The proposed regulations conform with an amendment made 
by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. This change would 
authorize the offset of nontax payments (via salary offset) to collect 
delinquent Federal debt without regard to the amount of time the debt 
has been delinquent. OPM is also proposing several technical changes to 
be consistent with the Department of the Treasury Federal Claims 
Collection Standards and salary offset regulations.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before: July 1, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by RIN ``3206-AM14,'' 
using any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    E-mail: pay-leave-policy@opm.gov.
    Fax: (202) 606-0824.
    Mail: Jerome D. Mikowicz, Deputy Associate Director for Pay and 
Leave, Room 7H31, 1900 E Street, NW., Washington, DC, 20415-8200.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tameka Gillis by telephone at (202) 
606-2858; by fax at (202) 606-0824; or by e-mail at pay-leave-policy@opm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management 
(OPM) is issuing proposed regulations to eliminate the 10-year statute 
of limitations on collection of debt by administrative offset, which 
includes centralized salary offset. The proposed regulations conform 
with an amendment to 31 U.S.C. 3716(e) made by section 14219 of the 
Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246 (122 Stat. 
1651) that became effective on June 18, 2008. This change authorizes 
the offset of nontax payments (via salary offset) to collect delinquent 
Federal debt without regard to the amount of time the debt has been 
delinquent.
    The Department of the Treasury has updated its regulations to 
reflect this change (see 74 FR 68537, December 28, 2009). To avoid any 
undue hardship, the Secretary of the Treasury has added a requirement 
applicable to debts that were previously ineligible for collection by 
offset because they have been outstanding for more than 10 years. For 
these debts, creditor agencies must certify to the Secretary of the 
Treasury that the notice of intent to offset was sent to the debtor 
after the debt became 10 years delinquent. This is intended to alert 
the debtor that his or her debt may now be collected by offset and 
allows the debtor additional opportunities to dispute the debt, enter 
into a repayment agreement, or otherwise avoid offset.
    To be consistent with the Department of the Treasury regulations, 
OPM is proposing to revise the regulations at 5 CFR 550.1106 to provide 
that agencies may initiate salary offset to collect a debt without time 
limitations on debt outstanding after the Government's right to collect 
the debt first accrued.
    OPM is also proposing to revise regulations at 5 CFR 550.1102(b)(1) 
to clarify that, because the salary offset procedures contained in 5 
CFR part 550, subpart K, must be consistent with the Federal Claims 
Collection Standards (FCCS), they do not apply to any debts which may 
be excluded by the FCCS or 31 CFR part 285. OPM is proposing to add a 
new paragraph (b)(3) in 5 CFR 550.1102 to recognize that certain 
statutes may exist that allow specific agencies to take certain 
compromise, suspension, or termination of collection actions as 
provided under such statutes and the FCCS. Further, OPM is proposing to 
revise the definition of FCCS to include a reference to 31 CFR parts 
900 through 904 and delete the obsolete reference to 4 CFR parts 101 
through 105.
    Also, OPM is proposing to revise regulations at 5 CFR 550.1104 to 
clarify that the amount deducted for any involuntary installment 
deductions may exceed 15 percent of the disposable pay only when a 
greater deduction has been ordered by a court of the United States in 
an action or suit brought against the debtor. This is to conform with 
section 124 of Public Law 97-276, October 2, 1982 (96 Stat. 1195) which 
allows an agency to deduct an amount greater than 15 percent of 
disposable pay, as determined by a court of the United States.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that these regulations will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because they 
will apply only to Federal agencies and employees.

Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget has reviewed this rule in 
accordance with E.O. 13563 and 12866.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 550

    Administrative practice and procedure, Claims, Government 
employees, Wages.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
John Berry,
Director.

    Accordingly, OPM is proposing to amend 5 CFR part 550 as follows:

PART 550--PAY ADMINISTRATION (GENERAL)

Subpart K--Collection by Offset From Indebted Government Employees

    1. The authority citation for subpart K of part 550 continues to 
read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 5514; sect 8(1) of E.O. 11609; redesignated 
in sec. 2-1 of E.O. 12107.

    2. In Sec.  550.1102, paragraph (b)(1) is revised and paragraph 
(b)(3) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  550.1102  Scope.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) Excluded debts. The procedures contained in this subpart do not 
apply to--
    (i) Debts arising under the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 1 et 
seq.);

[[Page 24407]]

    (ii) Debts arising under the tariff laws of the United States;
    (iii) Any case where collection of a debt by salary offset is 
explicitly provided for or prohibited by another statute (e.g., travel 
advances in 5 U.S.C. 5705 and employee training expenses in 5 U.S.C. 
4108); or
    (iv) Any other debt excluded by the FCCS or 31 CFR part 285.
* * * * *
    (3) Compromise, suspension, or termination of collection actions. 
This subpart does not preclude the compromise, suspension, or 
termination of collection actions, where appropriate, as provided in 
the FCCS (31 CFR 900.4) or the use of alternative dispute resolution 
methods if they are not inconsistent with agency-specific laws and 
regulations.
    3. In Sec.  550.1103, the definition of ``FCCS'' is revised to read 
as follows:


Sec.  550.1103  Definitions.

* * * * *
    FCCS means the Federal Claims Collections Standards published in 31 
CFR parts 900 through 904.
* * * * *
    4. In Sec.  550.1104, paragraphs (d)(3), (i), and (j) are revised 
to read as follows:


Sec.  550.1104  Agency regulations.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (3) The frequency and amount of the intended deduction (stated as a 
fixed dollar amount or as a percentage of pay, not to exceed 15 percent 
of disposable pay except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section) 
and the intention to continue the deductions until the debt is paid in 
full or otherwise resolved;
* * * * *
    (i) Limitation on amount of deductions. Prescribe the limitations 
on the amount of the deduction. Ordinarily, the size of installment 
deductions must bear a reasonable relationship to the size of the debt 
and the employee's ability to pay (see the FCCS). However, the amount 
deducted for any period may 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 or a higher deduction has 
been ordered by a court under section 124 of Public Law 97-276 (96 
Stat.1195).
    (j) Duration of deductions. Prescribe the duration of deductions. 
Ordinarily, debts must be collected in one lump sum where possible. 
However, if the employee is financially unable to pay in one lump sum 
or the amount of the debt exceeds 15 percent of disposable pay (or 
other applicable limitation as provided in paragraph (i) of this 
section) for an officially established pay interval, collection must be 
made in installments. Such installment deductions must be made over a 
period not greater than the anticipated period of active duty or 
employment, as the case may be, except as provided in paragraphs (l) 
and (m) of this section.
* * * * *
    5. Section 550.1106 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  550.1106  Time limit on collection of debts.

    Agencies may initiate salary offset to collect a debt without time 
limitations on any debt outstanding after the Government's right to 
collect the debt first accrued. (See Sec.  550.1108 for requirement 
when debts are delinquent over 180 days.)
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2011-10626 Filed 4-29-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6325-39-P