[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 79 (Thursday, April 24, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 22786-22787]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09295]



39 CFR Part 492

Collection of Delinquent Non-Tax Debts by Administrative Wage 

AGENCY: Postal Service.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The United States Postal Service proposes to add a provision 
to its regulations in order to implement the administrative wage 
garnishment (AWG) provisions of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 
1996 (DCIA), and to allow the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) of the 
United States Treasury to collect debts owed to the Postal Service, 
that the Postal Service refers to BFS for collection, by AWG.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before June 23, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Mail or deliver written comments to Ruth Stevenson, U.S. 
Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Room 6416, Washington, DC 
20260-1150. You may inspect and photocopy all written comments at USPS 
Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 11th Floor North, 
Washington, DC, by appointment only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 
p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 1-202-268-2906 in advance for an 
appointment. Email comments, containing the name and address of the 
commenter, may be sent to: awgcomments@ usps.gov. Faxed comments are 
not accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ruth Stevenson at (202) 268-6724.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: After providing debtors with the requisite 
opportunity for notice and review, the Postal Service currently may 
refer non-tax delinquent debts to the United States Treasury Bureau of 
the Fiscal Service (BFS), formerly the Financial Management Service 
(FMS), for centralized collection and/or offset. Among other potential 
collection tools, BFS may utilize Administrative Wage Garnishment (AWG) 
to collect delinquent debts referred to it by federal agencies. AWG 
allows a federal entity to enforce collection of a debt by garnishing 
wages the debtor receives from a non-federal (private) employer after 
affording the debtor with notice and certain administrative 
proceedings, including the right to a hearing.
    Provisions of the DCIA, codified at 31 U.S.C. 3720D, authorize 
Federal agencies to collect non-tax debt owed to the United States by 
AWG. The Treasury has also issued an implementing regulation at 31 CFR 
285.11. However, before BFS may utilize AWG to collect debts that the 
Postal Service refers to it, the Postal Service must first implement 
regulations authorizing the collection of non-tax delinquent debt by 
AWG. The Postal Service accordingly proposes to add new part 492, 
containing Sec.  492.1, to title 39 of the Code of Federal

[[Page 22787]]

Regulations in order to authorize collection of Postal debts by AWG.
    The regulation proposed by the Postal Service provides that the 
Treasury regulation, 31 CFR 285.11, shall apply to AWG proceedings 
conducted by, or on behalf of, the Postal Service. Section 285.11 
includes procedural protections, including notice requirements and 
hearing procedures, to allow individuals to contest the existence or 
amount of the debt and/or to assert that collection by garnishment 
would present an undue hardship prior to collection by AWG. BFS will 
pursue AWG on behalf of the Postal Service as part of its normal debt 
collection process. This includes issuing notices to debtors and 
garnishment orders to employers, as well as conducting required 
administrative hearings on behalf of the Postal Service, in accordance 
with the procedures contained in 31 CFR 285.11.
    AWG, which involves the garnishment of wages a debtor receives from 
a private employer, is a separate procedure from administrative salary 
offsets taken from current federal employees' salaries (including 
Postal employees' salaries) in order to satisfy a debt owed to the 
United States. See 5 U.S.C. 5514; 39 CFR part 961. It is also a 
distinct procedure from the garnishment of current Postal Service 
employee and Postal Service Rate employee salaries, as detailed in 39 
CFR part 491. Accordingly, the procedures contained in these provisions 
are not affected by this rule. In addition, the provisions pertaining 
to administrative offset contained in 39 CFR part 966 are not affected 
by this rule. As noted, the Postal Service must afford individuals with 
notice and an opportunity for review prior to referring a debt to the 
Treasury for collection and/or administrative offset, in accordance 
with ELM 470-480 and/or 39 CFR part 966, if applicable. Treasury may 
then determine to pursue collection of the debt by AWG, after providing 
the debtor with any additional process or procedures required by 31 CFR 

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 492

    Administrative practice and procedure, Claims, Wages.

For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Postal Service proposes to 
add 39 CFR part 492 as set forth below:


    Authority:  31 U.S.C. 3720D; 39 U.S.C. 204, 401, 2601; 31 CFR 

Sec.  492.1  Collection of delinquent non-tax debts by administrative 
wage garnishment.

    (a) This section provides procedures for the Postal Service to 
collect money from a debtor's disposable pay by means of administrative 
wage garnishment, in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3720D and 31 CFR 285.11, 
to satisfy delinquent nontax debt owed to the United States.
    (b) The Postal Service authorizes the United States Treasury Bureau 
of the Fiscal Service or its successor entity to collect debts by 
administrative wage garnishment, and conduct administrative wage 
garnishment hearings, on behalf of the Postal Service in accordance 
with the requirements of 31 U.S.C. 3720D and the procedures contained 
in 31 CFR 285.11.
    (c) The Postal Service adopts the provisions of 31 CFR 285.11 in 
their entirety. The provisions of 31 CFR 285.11 should therefore be 
read as though modified to effectuate the application of that 
regulation to administrative wage garnishment proceedings conducted by, 
or on behalf of, the U.S. Postal Service.

Stanley F. Mires,
Attorney, Legal Policy & Legislative Advice.
[FR Doc. 2014-09295 Filed 4-23-14; 8:45 am]