[Question Concerning Entitlement to Retroactive Promotion and Backpay]

B-217831: Oct 23, 1985

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A Social Security Administration (SSA) employee claimed a retroactive promotion and backpay, contending that she was eligible for a promotion 1 month before its effective date and failed to timely receive the promotion because of an administrative misunderstanding over the length of her service. SSA initially denied her promotion because she was a part-time employee and it incorrectly prorated the number of hours she had worked. The claimant claimed backpay for the month between the time she became eligible for the promotion and the time she was actually promoted. GAO held that: (1) the misunderstanding did not constitute an administrative error because the initial SSA decision was merely based on incomplete facts; and (2) since the promotion was discretionary, the claimant was not entitled to a retroactive promotion and backpay. Accordingly, the claim was denied.