U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 25, 2023
(a) Prior to initiation of collection by administrative offset, a creditor agency must:
(1) Send the debtor a written Notice of Intent to Collect by Administrative Offset, by mail or hand-delivery, of the type and amount of the debt, the intention of the agency to use non-centralized administrative offset (which includes a USDA administrative offset) to collect the debt 30 days after the date of the Notice, the name of the Federal agency or USDA agency from which the creditor agency wishes to collect in the case of a non-centralized administrative offset, the intent to refer the debt to Treasury for collection through centralized administrative offset (including possible offset of tax refunds) 60 days after the date of the Notice if the debt is not satisfied by offset within USDA or by agreement with another Federal agency, and an explanation of the debtor's rights under 31 U.S.C. 3716; and
(2) Give the debtor the opportunity:
(i) To inspect and copy agency records related to the debt;
(ii) For a review within the agency of the determination of indebtedness in accordance with subpart F of this part; and
(iii) To make a written agreement to repay the debt.
(b) The procedures specified in paragraph (a) of this section are not required when:
(1) The offset is in the nature of a recoupment;
(2) The debt arises under a contract subject to the Contracts Disputes Act;
(3) In the case of a non-centralized administrative offset, the agency 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, the agency will give the debtor such notice and an opportunity for review as soon as practicable and will promptly refund any money ultimately found not to have been owed to the government; or
(4) The agency previously has given a debtor any of the notice and review opportunities required under this part, with respect to a particular debt (see, for example, § 3.11). With respect to loans paid on an installment basis, notice and opportunity to review under this part may only be provided once for the life of the loan upon the occurrence of the first delinquent installment. Subsequently, if an agency elects this option, credit reporting agencies may be furnished periodically with updates as to the current or delinquent status of the loan account and the borrower may receive notice of referral to TOP for delinquent installments without further opportunity for review. Any interest accrued or any installments coming due after the offset is initiated also would not require a new notice and opportunity to review.
(c) The Notice of Intent to Collect by Administrative Offset will be included as part of a demand letter issued under § 3.11 to advise the debtor of all debt collection possibilities that the agency may employ.