Request of Department of the Interior for Interpretation of Disposable Earnings Subject to Garnishment and Salary Offset

B-213507-PLM-I: Sep 12, 1984

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The Bureau of Reclamation requested GAO's opinion on the interpretation of "disposable earning subject to garnishment", especially as it related to "allowances for meals, lodging, and uniforms." GAO held that federal statutes generally defined disposable income as income that is not subject to government withholdings. Federal statutes further stated that the amount of money withheld should not exceed 15 percent of the employee's pay unless written consent is obtained from the employee. GAO stated that while these laws are instructive, they are only models. The matter should be presented for further study.

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