[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 98 (Wednesday, May 21, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 29071-29072]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-11624]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 98 / Wednesday, May 21, 2014 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 29071]]



OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Part 179

RIN 3206-AM89


Administrative Wage Garnishment

AGENCY: Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is adopting as final 
its proposed regulation to implement the administrative wage 
garnishment (AWG) provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982, as 
amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA). The 
regulation will allow OPM to garnish the disposable pay of an 
individual to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed to the United 
States without first obtaining a court order. The regulation sets forth 
procedures for use by OPM in collecting debts owed to the Federal 
Government. The Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966, as amended by 
the Debt Collection Act of 1982 and the DCIA, requires agencies to 
issue regulations on their debt collection procedures. The regulation 
includes procedures for collection of debts through AWG.

DATES: Effective July 21, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Wurster, (202) 606-5220.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OPM's implementation of AWG would maximize 
collections of delinquent debts while minimizing the costs of debt 
collections. By adding a new Subpart D to 5 CFR part 179, OPM may 
collect non-tax debts owed to it from non-Federal wages pursuant to 31 
U.S.C. 3720D and 31 CFR 285.11.

Background

    OPM received no comments for the proposed rule. The commenting 
period was from January 6 to March 7, 2014. The DCIA directed the 
Secretary of the Treasury to issue implementing regulations (see 31 
U.S.C. 3720D(h)) with respect to AWG. On May 6, 1998 (63 FR 25136), the 
Department of Treasury (Treasury) published a final rule implementing 
the statutory AWG requirements at 31 CFR 285.11. Paragraph (f) of 31 
CFR 285.11 provides that ``[a]gencies shall prescribe regulations for 
the conduct of administrative wage garnishment hearings consistent with 
this section or shall adopt this section without change by reference.'' 
Among other things, the DCIA centralized administrative collection of 
Federal non-tax debts with Treasury and gave Treasury responsibility 
for setting administrative debt collection requirements, including 
those for AWG. This final rule would amend OPM's regulations at 5 CFR 
part 179, Subpart D, to adopt 31 CFR 285.11 in its entirety. 
Specifically, the final rule would establish a new provision that would 
contain a cross-reference to 31 CFR 285.11.
    This regulation implements the administrative wage garnishment 
provision in section 31001(o) of DCIA, Public Law 104-134, 110 Stat. 
1321-358, codified at 31 U.S.C. 3720D, and the Treasury AWG regulations 
at 31 CFR 285.11. Under the AWG provisions of the DCIA, Federal 
agencies may garnish administratively up to 15 percent of the wages of 
a debtor to satisfy a delinquent non-tax debt owed to the United 
States. Prior to the enactment of the DCIA, Federal agencies were 
required to obtain a court judgment before garnishing the wages of non-
Federal employees. Section 31001(o) of the DCIA preempts State laws 
that prohibit wage garnishment or otherwise govern wage garnishment 
procedures.
    As authorized by the DCIA, a Federal agency collecting a delinquent 
non-tax debt may garnish a delinquent debtor's wages in accordance with 
regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Treasury. The Treasury 
Department's Bureau of the Fiscal Service is responsible for 
promulgating the regulations implementing this and other debt 
collection tools established by the DCIA.
    Purpose: This part prescribes the standards and procedures for the 
Agency to collect money from a debtor's wages by means of AWG to 
satisfy delinquent non-tax debts owed to the United States.


    Authority: OPM adopts and incorporates all of the provisions of 
31 CFR 285.11 concerning AWG, including the hearing procedures 
described in 31 CFR 285.11(f), as promulgated by Treasury to allow 
Federal agencies to collect money from an individual whose wages are 
not paid by the Federal Government. Such collections will be 
accomplished by means of AWG authorized by 31 U.S.C. 3720D.

    Scope: This part applies to all OPM offices that administer 
programs that give rise to delinquent non-tax debts owed to the United 
States and to all officers or employees of the Agency authorized to 
collect such debts.
    Procedures: In accordance with the substantive and procedural 
requirements of 31 U.S.C. 3720D and 31 CFR 285.11, this final rule 
would establish the following rules and procedures:
    1. Providing a debtor with written notice at least 30 days before 
OPM, or Treasury on OPM's behalf, initiates garnishment proceedings, 
informing the debtor of the nature and amount of the debt, the 
intention of the Agency to collect the debt through deductions from the 
debtor's disposable pay, and an explanation of the debtor's rights 
regarding the proposed action.
    2. Providing the debtor with an opportunity to inspect and copy OPM 
records relating to the debt, to enter into a repayment agreement with 
the Agency, and to receive a hearing concerning the existence or amount 
of the debt, and the terms of a repayment schedule.
    3. Conducting a hearing prior to the issuance of a withholding 
order, if the debtor submits a timely request. When a debtor's request 
for a hearing is not received within the time period specified, OPM 
will not delay issuance of a withholding order prior to conducting the 
hearing.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 179

    Administrative practices and procedures, Claims, Debts, Garnishment 
of wages, Hearings and appeal procedures, Salaries.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Katherine Archuleta,
Director.

    For the reasons set forth above, the Office of Personnel Management 
amends 5 CFR part 179 as follows:

[[Page 29072]]

PART 179--CLAIMS COLLECTIONS STANDARDS

0
1. The authority citation for part 179 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 1103; Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1978; 5 
U.S.C. 5514; 5 CFR part 550 subpart K; 31 U.S.C. 3701, 31 U.S.C. 
3711; 31 U.S.C. 3716; 31 U.S.C. 3720A; 31 U.S.C. 3720B; 31 U.S.C. 
3720C; 31 U.S.C. 3720D.

0
2. Add subpart D to read as follows:

Subpart D--Administrative Wage Garnishment

Sec.
179.401 Administrative wage garnishment.

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 46; 31 U.S.C. 3720D; 31 CFR 285.11(f).


Sec.  179.401  Administrative wage garnishment.

    General. OPM may use administrative wage garnishment to collect 
debts in accordance with the requirements of 31 U.S.C. 3720D and 31 CFR 
285.11, including debts it refers to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, 
Department of the Treasury, for cross-servicing pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 
3711. This part adopts and incorporates all of the provisions of 31 CFR 
285.11 concerning administrative wage garnishment, including the 
hearing procedures described in 31 CFR 285.11(f). This section does not 
apply to collection of debt by Federal salary offset, under 5 U.S.C. 
5514, the process by which OPM collects debts from the salaries of 
Federal employees.

[FR Doc. 2014-11624 Filed 5-20-14; 8:45 am]
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