Sometimes the federal government makes the mistake of overpaying federal employment benefits, such as retirement annuities, to a recipient. In these scenarios, the federal government will attempt to force overpayment recipients to repay what was overpaid. In this kind of situation, the recipient can request an over payment or debt waiver within thirty (30) days of the date of the notification letter. This process is typically handled by Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”).
To obtain an overpayment waiver you must show that: (1) you were not at fault for the overpayment; and (2) it would go against equity and good conscience to force the recipient to repay the overpayment. You can demonstrate your lack of fault for an overpayment by establishing that you were unaware that you were being overpaid or that you promptly acted to correct the receipt of the overpayment once you became aware.
You can argue that it would be against equity and good conscience to force repayment by showing that you relied upon the overpayment to your detriment, which means that you changed positions for the worse or gave up a valuable right. You can also show that repayment would be otherwise unconscionable or unfair under the circumstances. This can be shown by arguing that the overpayment prompted an irreversible major financial decision, as is the case where a retiree makes the decision to retire in reliance on the overpayment. An exceptionally lengthy delay in adjusting an annuity or gross negligence on the part of the federal government can support a claim that forced repayment would be unconscionable.
The attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. have expertise in litigating overpayment matters, and are willing and able to assist you with your legal needs.
Call us today at 404-724-0000.