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MILITARY PERSONNEL - Pay - Overpayments - Error detection - Debt collection - Waiver DIGEST: A member of the United States Navy who failed to examine his direct bank deposits and his Leave and Earnings Statements which showed he was being erroneously paid separate rations in addition to receiving free meals aboard ship may not have the overpayment waived. We have consistently held that waiver of the collection of erroneous payments is precluded where the recipient was at fault in contributing to the error by failing to exercise reasonable judgment to either prevent the error from occurring or in allowing it to continue. Foss was at fault for failing to examine his bank deposits. His Leave and Earnings Statements and by failing to resolve why his pay did not decrease as anticipated when he was assigned to sea duty.

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B-242597, Jul 22, 1991, Office of General Counsel

MILITARY PERSONNEL - Pay - Overpayments - Error detection - Debt collection - Waiver DIGEST: A member of the United States Navy who failed to examine his direct bank deposits and his Leave and Earnings Statements which showed he was being erroneously paid separate rations in addition to receiving free meals aboard ship may not have the overpayment waived, particularly when he failed to insist on a satisfactory explanation of why his pay had not decreased as he had anticipated.

Herman J. Leasum:

This responds to your December 18, 1990 appeal on behalf of your client, Mr. Arni R. Foss, of our Claims Group's decision in Z-2904200, which involved a claim of the United States Navy for the collection of overpayments made to Mr. Foss while serving in the Coast Guard.

Upon review of the record, we find no error of law or fact in the Claims Group decision. We have consistently held that waiver of the collection of erroneous payments is precluded where the recipient was at fault in contributing to the error by failing to exercise reasonable judgment to either prevent the error from occurring or in allowing it to continue. Here, Mr. Foss was at fault for failing to examine his bank deposits, his Leave and Earnings Statements and by failing to resolve why his pay did not decrease as anticipated when he was assigned to sea duty.

Accordingly, the Claims Group decision is affirmed.

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