B-242854, Jun 5, 1991

B-242854: Jun 5, 1991

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Her health insurance premiums should have then been deducted from her salary. We deny her request for waiver of the overpayment because she should have questioned the fact that no health insurance deductions were being withheld from her pay. Bolton was hired by the Department of State as a temporary GS-14 Special Assistant. Bolton was a reemployed annuitant. Bolton accepted a permanent position with the Department of State and was thus no longer entitled to receive her CSRS annuity. Her health insurance premiums should have then been deducted from her salary. 272.33 was not deducted during the period of May 1. The Comptroller General is authorized by 5 U.S.C. The waiver authority may not be exercised if there is an indication of fault on the part of the employee.

B-242854, Jun 5, 1991

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Compensation - Overpayments - Error detection - Debt collection - Waiver CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Compensation - Payroll deductions - Health insurance - Insurance premiums - Underdeductions DIGEST: A reemployed annuitant serving in a temporary position accepted a permanent position. As a result, her health insurance premiums should have then been deducted from her salary, but her agency failed to do so. For that period of time, after the Office of Personnel Management notified her that responsibility for her health insurance deductions had been transferred to her agency, we deny her request for waiver of the overpayment because she should have questioned the fact that no health insurance deductions were being withheld from her pay.

Ann D. Bolton:

Ms. Ann D. Bolton requests that we reconsider our Claims Group's action which denied in part her request for waiver of her indebtedness caused by the Department of State's failure to deduct health insurance premiums from her salary. /1/ For the following reasons, we affirm our Claims Group's action.

On January 6, 1983, Ms. Bolton was hired by the Department of State as a temporary GS-14 Special Assistant. Since Ms. Bolton was a reemployed annuitant, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) withheld her health insurance premiums from her Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuity. Effective May 1, 1983, Ms. Bolton accepted a permanent position with the Department of State and was thus no longer entitled to receive her CSRS annuity. As a result, her health insurance premiums should have then been deducted from her salary, but, due to administrative error, the Department of State failed to do so. A total of $1,272.33 was not deducted during the period of May 1, 1983, to January 21, 1989.

The Comptroller General is authorized by 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5584 (1988) to waive claims for overpayments of pay if collection would be against equity and good conscience and not in the best interests of the United States. However, the waiver authority may not be exercised if there is an indication of fault on the part of the employee.

We consider "fault" to exist if, in light of all the circumstances, the individual concerned knew or should have known that an error existed, but failed to take action to have it corrected. In this connection, if an employee has records which, if reviewed, would indicate an overpayment, and the employee fails to review such documents for accuracy or otherwise fails to take corrective action, then the employee is not without fault and waiver will be denied. Daniel J. Rendon, 68 Comp.Gen. 573 (1989), and cases cited therein; Sheldon H. Avenius, Jr., B-226465, Mar. 23, 1988.

In the present case, OPM notified Ms. Bolton on November 30, 1984, that her health insurance coverage had been transferred to the Department of State, effective April 30, 1983. After receiving this notice, Ms. Bolton should have questioned the fact that no health insurance deductions were being withheld from her pay even though she was receiving uninterrupted health insurance coverage. Since Ms. Bolton did not question the accuracy of her pay or otherwise take corrective action, we affirm our Claims Group's denial of waiver of $984.21, the portion of the overpayment which occurred after she was notified, i.e., during the period of December 9, 1984, to January 21, 1989.

/1/ Z-2903918, Nov. 8, 1990 (granting waiver of $288.12 of the government's claim and denying waiver of $984.21).