[Request for Reconsideration of Claims Group's Denial of Waiver of Debt]

B-216951: Apr 12, 1985

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A retired Air Force member requested reconsideration of the Claims Group's denial of his application for waiver of a debt which he incurred from erroneous payments of retired military pay. A claim may not be waived if there is an indication of fraud, misrepresentation, fault, or lack of good faith. In this case, GAO considered fault to exist because the member should have known that an error existed and taken action to have it corrected. It is fundamental that officers retiring from a military service are entitled to pay of the highest grade in which they served, and since the member knew that his highest active duty grade was lieutenant colonel, he should not have expected to receive retired pay based on the grade of colonel and should have known or suspected that he was being overpaid. The fact that the overpayments were an administrative error does not relieve the member of the responsibility to make restitution. Accordingly, the Claims Group denial of waiver was sustained.

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