[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 3 (Monday, January 6, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 609-610]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-31500]

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.


Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 3 / Monday, January 6, 2014 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 609]]


5 CFR Part 179

RIN 3206-AM89

Administrative Wage Garnishment

AGENCY: Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing this 
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 proposed 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 proposed 
regulation includes procedures for collection of debts through AWG.

DATES: Comments on the proposed regulation must be received in writing 
on or before March 7, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments on the proposed regulation, 
identified by regulatory information number (RIN), by any one of the 
following methods:
     Mail: The mailing address for comments is: Daniel K. 
Marella, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, or Robert Wurster, Chief, 
Policy and Internal Control: Attention: Comments/RIN 3206-AM89, U.S. 
Office of Personnel Management, Room 7525, 1900 E Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20415.
     Email: Comments may be sent to Daniel K. Marella, Deputy 
Chief Financial Officer, by email at [email protected] or to Robert 
Wurster, Chief, Policy and Internal Control, at [email protected]. 
Include ``RIN 3206-AM89'' in the subject line of message.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments. If you submit your 
comment to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, please also send it by email 
to OPM at [email protected] to ensure timely receipt by the agency. 
Include the following information in the subject line of your 
submission: Comments/RIN 3206-AM89.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Wurster, Chief, Policy and 
Internal Control, at (202) 606-5220, or Office of Personnel Management, 
5H30L, 1900 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20415. The telephone number 
for the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf is (800) 878-5707.

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.


    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 proposed rule would amend OPM's regulations at 5 CFR Part 179, 
Subpart D, to adopt 31 CFR 285.11 in its entirety. Specifically, the 
proposed 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 
    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 proposed 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

[[Page 610]]

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 

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,

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


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

    Authority: 31 U.S.C. 952; 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.

2. Add subpart D to read as follows:

Subpart D--Administrative Wage Garnishment

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. 2013-31500 Filed 1-3-14; 8:45 am]