Matter of: Susan J. Carroll File: B-252672 Date: September 20, 1993

B-252672: Sep 20, 1993

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MILITARY PERSONNEL Pay Overpayments Direct payroll deposit Debt collection Waiver Former Navy member's request for waiver of her debt to the United States which arose when an extra paycheck was issued upon her separation from the service and automatically deposited in her bank account is denied because former member is not without fault which bars waiver under 10 U.S.C. Carroll was discharged from the Navy in Hawaii on July 9. Her regular active duty pay check of $469.95 was deposited in her bank account under a direct deposit system on July 15. Credits have reduced the overpayment to $463.94. Waiver can only be granted if it is shown that the claim arose because of an administrative error.

Matter of: Susan J. Carroll File: B-252672 Date: September 20, 1993

MILITARY PERSONNEL Pay Overpayments Direct payroll deposit Debt collection Waiver Former Navy member's request for waiver of her debt to the United States which arose when an extra paycheck was issued upon her separation from the service and automatically deposited in her bank account is denied because former member is not without fault which bars waiver under 10 U.S.C. Sec. 2774.

DECISION Ms. Susan J. Carroll has appealed the February 3, 1993 settlement of our Claims Group which denied her request for waiver of the government's claim against her for funds she erroneously received upon separation from the U.S. Navy. We affirm the Claims Group's settlement.

Ms. Carroll was discharged from the Navy in Hawaii on July 9, 1991 and she received a final separation payment at that time of $467.08. Due to an administrative error, her regular active duty pay check of $469.95 was deposited in her bank account under a direct deposit system on July 15, 1991. Credits have reduced the overpayment to $463.94.

Section 2774 (a) of title 10, United States Code authorizes the Comptroller General to waive claims for erroneous payments to members or former members of the uniformed services, for pay and allowances, if collecting the claim would be against equity and good conscience, and not in the best interest of the United States. Further, waiver can only be granted if it is shown that the claim arose because of an administrative error, with no indication of fraud, fault, misrepresentation or lack of good faith by the member or any other person in accepting the overpayment. 10 U.S.C. Sec. 2774 (b)

The standard we employ in determining whether a member was at fault in accepting an overpayment is whether, under the particular circumstances involved, a reasonable person would have been aware that he or she was receiving more than their proper entitlement. Louis K. Early, Jr., B-240761, Nov. 7, 1990.

Since Ms. Carroll was physically given her final separation check at the time of her discharge, when a deposit was made to her savings account six days later, she should have been aware of the overpayment and made inquiry. While she states that she left Hawaii and returned to the mainland shortly after her discharge and did not receive a bank statement, we have held that the fact that a member has pay sent directly to a bank does not relieve the member of the responsibility of verifying bank statements and questioning any discrepancies and setting the money aside for repayment. James H. Braun, Jr., B-240337, Aug. 30, 1990.

We note that when Ms. Carroll transferred funds from the savings account to her checking account, she states she should have noticed that the amount available for transfer was larger than she thought it should be.

Finally, the fact that repayment causes a financial hardship is not a basis for granting waiver. Accordingly, we must deny her request for waiver.