22 CFR § 213.20
Administrative offset of non-employee debts
November 19, 2020

This subpart provides for USAID's collection of debts by administrative offset under the Federal Claims Collection Standards, other statutory authorities and offsets or recoupments under common law. It does not apply to offsets against employee salaries covered by §§213.21, 213.22 and 213.23 of this subpart. USAID will collect debts by administrative offsets where it determines that such collections are feasible and are not otherwise prohibited by statute or contract. USAID will decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether collection by administrative offset is feasible and that its use furthers and protects the interest of the United States.

(a) Standards.

(1) The CFO collects debts by administrative offset only after the debtor has been sent written notice in the form of a Bill for Collection or demand letter outlining the type and amount of the debt, the intention of the agency to use administrative offset to collect the debt, and explaining the debtor's rights under 31 U.S.C. 3716.

(2) Offsets may be initiated only after the debtor has been given:

(i) The opportunity to inspect and copy agency records related to the debt;

(ii) The opportunity for a review within the agency of the determination of indebtedness;

(iii) The opportunity to make a written agreement to repay the debt.

(3) The provisions of paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section may be omitted when:

(i) The offset is in the nature of a recoupement;

(ii) The debt arises under a contract as set forth in Cecile Industries, Inc. v. Cheney, 995 F.2d 1052 (Fed. Cir. 1993) (notice and other procedural protections set forth in 31 U.S.C. 3716(a) do not supplant or restrict established procedures for contractual offsets accommodated by the Contracts Disputes Act); or

(iii) In the case of non-centralized administrative offsets conducted under paragraph (g) of this section, USAID first learns of the existence of the amount owed by the debtor when there is insufficient time before payment would be made to the debtor/payee to allow for prior notice and an opportunity for review. When prior notice and an opportunity for review are omitted, USAID shall give the debtor such notice and an opportunity for review as soon as practicable and shall promptly refund any money ultimately found not to have been owed to the USAID.

(4) When USAID previously has given a debtor any of the required notice and review opportunities with respect to a particular debt, USAID need not duplicate such notice and review opportunities before administrative offset may be initiated.

(b) Interagency offset. The CFO may offset a debt owed to another Federal agency from amounts due or payable by USAID to the debtor, or may request another Federal agency to offset a debt owed to USAID. The CFO through the FMS cross-servicing arrangement may request the Internal Revenue Service to offset an overdue debt from a Federal income tax refund due. The FMS may also garnishment the salary of a private sector employee where reasonable attempts to obtain payment have failed. Interagency offsets from employee's salaries will be made in accordance with the procedures contained in §§213.22 and 213.23.

(c) Statutory bar to offset. Administrative offset will not be made more than 10 years after the Government's right to collect the debt first accrued, unless facts material to the Government's right to collect the debt were not known and could not have been known through the exercise of reasonable care by the officer responsible for discovering or collecting the debt. For purposes of offset, the right to collect a debt accrues when the appropriate USAID official determines that a debt exists (e.g., contracting officer, grant award official, etc.), when it is affirmed by an administrative appeal or a court having jurisdiction, or when a debtor defaults on a payment agreement, whichever is latest. An offset occurs when money payable to the debtor is first withheld or when USAID requests offset from money held by another agency.

(d) Alternative repayment. The CFO may, at the CFO's discretion, enter into a repayment agreement with the debtor in lieu of offset. In deciding whether to accept payment of the debt by an alternative repayment agreement, the CFO may consider such factors as the amount of the debt, the length of the proposed repayment period, past Agency dealings with the debtor, documentation submitted by the debtor indicating that an offset will cause undue financial hardship, and the debtor's financial ability to adhere to the terms of a repayment agreement. The CFO may require financial documentation from the debtor before considering the repayment arrangement.

(e) Review of administrative determination of debt's validity.

(1) A debt will not be offset while a debtor is seeking either formal or informal review of the validity of the debt under this section or under another statute, regulation or contract. However, interest, penalty and administrative costs will continue to accrue during this period, unless otherwise waived by the CFO. The CFO may initiate offset as soon as practical after completion of review or after a debtor waives the opportunity to request review.

(2) The debtor must provide a written request for review of the decision to offset the debt no later than 15 days after the date of the notice of the offset unless a different time is specifically prescribed. The debtor's request must state the basis for the request for review.

(3) The CFO may grant an extension of time for filing a request for review if the debtor shows good cause for the late filing. A debtor who fails timely to file or to request an extension waives the right to review.

(4) The CFO will issue, no later than 60 days after the filing of the request, a written final decision based on the evidence, record and applicable law.

(f) Multiple debts. Where moneys are available for offset against multiple debts of a debtor, it will be applied in accordance with the best interest of the Government as determined by the CFO on a case-by-case basis.

(g) Non-centralized administrative offset.

(1) Generally, non-centralized administrative offsets are ad hoc case-by-case offsets that creditor agencies conduct, at the agency's discretion, internally or in cooperation with the agency certifying or authorizing payments to the debtor. Unless otherwise prohibited by law, when centralized administrative offset is not available or appropriate, past due, legally enforceable nontax delinquent debts may be collected through non-centralized administrative offset. In these cases, a creditor agency may make a request directly to a payment authorizing agency to offset a payment due a debtor to collect a delinquent debt.

(2) Before requesting a payment authorizing agency to conduct a non-centralized administrative offset, USAID's regulations provides that such offsets may occur only after:

(i) The debtor has been provided due process as set forth in paragraph (a) of this section; and

(ii) The payment authorizing agency has received written certification from the creditor agency that the debtor owes the past due, legally enforceable delinquent debt in the amount stated, and that the creditor agency has fully complied with its regulations concerning administrative offset.

(3) USAID as a payment authorizing agency will comply with offset requests by creditor agencies to collect debts owed to the United States, unless the offset would not be in the best interests of the United States with respect to USAID's program, or would otherwise be contrary to law.

(4) When collecting multiple debts by non-centralized administrative offset, USAID will apply the recovered amounts to those debts in accordance with the best interests of the United States, as determined by the facts and circumstances of the particular case, particularly the applicable statute of limitations.

(h) Requests to OPM to offset a debtor's anticipated or future benefit payments under the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund. Upon providing OPM written certification that a debtor has been afforded the procedures provided in paragraph (a) of this section, USAID may request OPM to offset a debtor's anticipated or future benefit payments under the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (Fund) in accordance with regulations codified at 5 CFR 831.1801 through 831.1808. Upon receipt of such a request, OPM will identify and “flag” a debtor's account in anticipation of the time when the debtor requests, or becomes eligible to receive, payments from the Fund. This will satisfy any requirement that offset be initiated prior to the expiration of the time limitations referenced in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

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