Air Force Procedures on Garnishment

FPCD-79-47: Published: Apr 5, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 5, 1979.

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A retired Air Force officer raised certain questions about the garnishment of his retired pay for alimony and child support payments. The record indicates that a writ of garnishment was served on the U.S. attorney at Norfolk, Virginia, on June 8, 1978, but not received at the Air Force Accounting and Finance Center (AFAFC) until August 28, 1978. Since the Air Force officer had already received his retired pay through August 1978, and there were no funds in his retired pay account to satisfy the garnishment, the Air Force paid the court on behalf of the officer and deducted the amount from his next retirement pay. Subsequent writs were issued as a result of back alimony and child support payments against the officer's retirement pay. In a review of the matter, GAO held that the dates of service of the writs garnishing the officer's retired pay should have been the dates they were served at AFAFC, not the dates served on the U.S. Attorney. Once a writ has been served, it is only applicable to funds on hand, and AFAFC should not have made payments on behalf of the officer, thus creating a debt to the Government to be satisfied from his subsequent retired pay. The officer has no claim against the Government for the excess amounts, since all money withheld was used to satisfy the officer's debts.

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