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The Department of Energy requested a decision as to whether an employee may be granted an indebtedness waiver for overpayments she received due to an erroneous promotion. GAO held that: (1) if an appointment is invalid and the employee performs the duties of the position with apparent right and claim to the position, the employee is considered a de facto employee and is entitled to retain compensation already received; (2) recoupment of payments is only necessary where an absolute statutory bar exists which expressly prohibits the payment of appropriated funds or requires a refund; (3) even though the appointment was invalid, the employee performed the duties of her position in good faith; and (4) there was no statutory authority that required a refund from the employee. Accordingly, the claimant was entitled to retain the additional compensation.


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