Request for Waiver of Claims Resulting From Overpayments of Military Retired Pay

B-197511: Apr 7, 1980

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A retired member of the Army requested reconsideration of the Claims Division denial of his request for waiver of the Government's claim against him resulting from overpayments of military retired pay. The member served in the Army continuously for 31 years and was placed on the temporary disability list for more than 4 years before returning to active duty. After his retirement he requested that the Army authorities change his retirement status to delete his recall to active duty because his physical condition had worsened and the Veterans Administration (VA) had granted him a 100 percent disability. A recomputation of his retired pay based on the changes in his record revealed that he was entitled to $165 less retired pay per month than he had been receiving under his original retired pay computation. As a result, the member was in debt to the Government in the amount of $4,480.74. Legislation requires that VA compensation be setoff against military retired pay. Because the VA did not report fluctuations in the amount of his disability pay to the Army, the member incurred a further debt of $205. The request for waiver was denied because it was not filed within the 3-year period prescribed by the waiver law. GAO found that the member became obligated to refund the $4,480.74 in overpayments to the Government because of his request for a change in his Army discharge records. As to the debt resulting from adjustments of the member's VA compensation, GAO held that since the member knew that he was receiving overpayments, it would not be against equity and good conscience to require that he repay this amount. Accordingly, the Claims Division action was sustained.