B-233640, Jun 28, 1989

B-233640: Jun 28, 1989

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Is advised of our general policy against granting "blanket" waivers under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. Other alternatives are available such as suspending collection of a claim when the cost of collecting it is likely to be more than the amount recovered. Further action should be delayed until the new system is in place. You anticipate that erroneous overpayments will occur when you convert your present civilian payroll system to a new standard civilian pay system. We have declined to grant "blanket" waivers under 5 U.S.C. We have only issued a blanket waiver under unique circumstances. For example where all federal employees were affected. We also point out that other alternatives are available and that the head of the agency may suspend collection of a claim or claims when the cost of collecting the claim is likely to be more than the amount recovered.

B-233640, Jun 28, 1989

APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Claims by Government - Overpayments - Blanket waiver DIGEST: Commander, Navy Finance Center, is advised of our general policy against granting "blanket" waivers under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5584. Other alternatives are available such as suspending collection of a claim when the cost of collecting it is likely to be more than the amount recovered. Further action should be delayed until the new system is in place.

W. E. Daeschner

Captain, SC, USN

Commander:

W. E. Daeschner. We refer to your letter of September 28, 1988, your reference: 7420/1-1W NAFC-4213 in which you request advance authority to grant blanket waivers to individuals under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5584 (1982). You anticipate that erroneous overpayments will occur when you convert your present civilian payroll system to a new standard civilian pay system.

In our prior decisions involving waivers of unknown amounts for large groups of unidentified employees, we have declined to grant "blanket" waivers under 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5584 since the statute contemplates consideration of individual cases where the identity of the individual, the amount of the debt, and the circumstances of each case may be examined. Marine Officers, B-184947, Mar. 21, 1978; Canal Zone Positions, B-188000, Oct. 12, 1977. We have only issued a blanket waiver under unique circumstances, for example where all federal employees were affected. Pay Computation, B-222776, June 16, 1986.

We also point out that other alternatives are available and that the head of the agency may suspend collection of a claim or claims when the cost of collecting the claim is likely to be more than the amount recovered. U.S.C. Sec. 3711(a)(3) (1982); 4 C.F.R. Sec. 104.3(c) (1988); B-206699.1, B-206699.2, Sept. 15, 1988. Also, as you are aware, the head of an agency may waive a claim in an amount not aggregating more than $500. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5584(a)(2)(A) (1982).

The extent of the overcharges, if any, that may be caused by the conversion in pay systems is unknown. Further, an assumption can likewise be made that underpayments will occur which will result in claims by employees against the United States. It will be necessary to adjust those accounts on a case-by-case basis.

Accordingly, we believe that the best approach would be to delay any further action until the new system is in place, and at that time assess the feasibility of the various approaches that are discussed above. are furnishing you with copies of the decisions cited.