31 U.S.C. § 3716 - Administrative offset
|Cite as:||31 U.S.C. § 3716|
|Currency:||Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)|
(a) After trying to collect a claim from a person under section 3711(a) of this title, the head of an executive, judicial, or legislative agency may collect the claim by administrative offset. The head of the agency may collect by administrative offset only after giving the debtor-
(1) written notice of the type and amount of the claim, the intention of the head of the agency to collect the claim by administrative offset, and an explanation of the rights of the debtor under this section;
(2) an opportunity to inspect and copy the records of the agency related to the claim;
(3) an opportunity for a review within the agency of the decision of the agency related to the claim; and
(4) an opportunity to make a written agreement with the head of the agency to repay the amount of the claim.
(b) Before collecting a claim by administrative offset, the head of an executive, judicial, or legislative agency must either-
(1) adopt, without change, regulations on collecting by administrative offset promulgated by the Department of Justice, the Government Accountability Office, or the Department of the Treasury; or
(2) prescribe regulations on collecting by administrative offset consistent with the regulations referred to in paragraph (1).
(A) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a disbursing official of the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Defense, the United States Postal Service, the Department of Health and Human Services, or any other government corporation, or any disbursing official of the United States designated by the Secretary of the Treasury, shall offset at least annually the amount of a payment which a payment certifying agency has certified to the disbursing official for disbursement, by an amount equal to the amount of a claim which a creditor agency has certified to the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to this subsection.
(B) An agency that designates disbursing officials pursuant to section 3321(c) of this title is not required to certify claims arising out of its operations to the Secretary of the Treasury before such agency's disbursing officials offset such claims.
(C) Payments certified by the Department of Education under a program administered by the Secretary of Education under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 shall not be subject to administrative offset under this subsection.
(2) Neither the disbursing official nor the payment certifying agency shall be liable-
(A) for the amount of the administrative offset on the basis that the underlying obligation, represented by the payment before the administrative offset was taken, was not satisfied; or
(B) for failure to provide timely notice under paragraph (8).
(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of law (including sections 207 and 1631(d)(1) of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 407 and 1383(d)(1) ), section 413(b) of Public Law 91-173 ( 30 U.S.C. 923(b) ), and section 14 of the Act of August 29, 1935 ( 45 U.S.C. 231m )), except as provided in clause (ii), all payments due to an individual under-
(I) the Social Security Act,
(II) part B of the Black Lung Benefits Act, or
(III) any law administered by the Railroad Retirement Board (other than payments that such Board determines to be tier 2 benefits),
shall be subject to offset under this section.
(ii) An amount of $9,000 which a debtor may receive under Federal benefit programs cited under clause (i) within a 12-month period shall be exempt from offset under this subsection. In applying the $9,000 exemption, the disbursing official shall-
(I) reduce the $9,000 exemption amount for the 12-month period by the amount of all Federal benefit payments made during such 12-month period which are not subject to offset under this subsection; and
(II) apply a prorated amount of the exemption to each periodic benefit payment to be made to the debtor during the applicable 12-month period.
For purposes of the preceding sentence, the amount of a periodic benefit payment shall be the amount after any reduction or deduction required under the laws authorizing the program under which such payment is authorized to be made (including any reduction or deduction to recover any overpayment under such program).
(B) The Secretary of the Treasury shall exempt from administrative offset under this subsection payments under means-tested programs when requested by the head of the respective agency. The Secretary may exempt other payments from administrative offset under this subsection upon the written request of the head of a payment certifying agency. A written request for exemption of other payments must provide justification for the exemption under standards prescribed by the Secretary. Such standards shall give due consideration to whether administrative offset would tend to interfere substantially with or defeat the purposes of the payment certifying agency's program. The Secretary shall report to the Congress annually on exemptions granted under this section.
(C) The provisions of sections 205(b)(1), 809(a)(1), and 1631(c)(1) of the Social Security Act shall not apply to any administrative offset executed pursuant to this section against benefits authorized by title II, VIII, or title XVI of the Social Security Act, respectively.
(D) This section shall apply to payments made after the date which is 90 days after the enactment of this subparagraph (or such earlier date as designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services) with respect to claims or debts, and to amounts payable, under title XVIII of the Social Security Act.
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