Untimely Filing of Claim for Backpay

B-199521: Aug 19, 1980

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Shirley Jones
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A review was made of the action of the Social Security Administration (SSA) which informed an employee that his claim for backpay, incident to an extended detail to a higher-grade position, was barred, because it was untimely filed with GAO. The detail took place from May 1973 to September 1973 and the claim was filed in December 1978, which was still within the 6-year Staute of Limitations. However, due to an administrative oversight, SSA did not register the claim with GAO until September 12, 1979. SSA determined that the claimant met the statutory and regulatory requirements for promotion and that his detail to the higher grade exceeded the 60-day period permissible under the SSA Headquarters Merit Promotion Plan. Although SSA granted the claimant a retroactive temporary promotion for the portion of the detail which went beyond September 12,1973, the agency disallowed his claim for the period prior to that date, on the basis that this portion of the claim was time barred. The claimant contended that it was unfair to penalize him for the agency's failure to register the claim with GAO within the 6-year time limit, and asserted that the submission of his claim to SSA operated to toll the Statute of Limitations. Although the the delay was the fault of the agency. GAO held that the 6-year bar must be applied from the time the employee's claim was received, not the date it was filed with SSA.