United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 02, 2023
Authority to settle claims
Except as provided in this chapter or another law, all claims of or against the United States Government shall be settled as follows:
The Secretary of Defense shall settle—
claims involving uniformed service members’ pay, allowances, travel, transportation, payments for unused accrued leave, retired pay, and survivor benefits; and
claims by transportation carriers involving amounts collected from them for loss or damage incurred to property incident to shipment at Government expense.
The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall settle claims involving Federal civilian employees’ compensation and leave.
The Administrator of General Services shall settle claims involving expenses incurred by Federal civilian employees for official travel and transportation, and for relocation expenses incident to transfers of official duty station.
The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall settle claims not otherwise provided for by this subsection or another provision of law.
A claim against the Government presented under this section must contain the signature and address of the claimant or an authorized representative. The claim must be received by the official responsible under subsection (a) for settling the claim or by the agency that conducts the activity from which the claim arises within 6 years after the claim accrues except—
as provided in this chapter or another law; or
a claim of a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States.
When the claim of a member of the armed forces accrues during war or within 5 years before war begins, the claim must be received within 5 years after peace is established or within the period provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection, whichever is later.
A claim that is not received in the time required under this subsection shall be returned with a copy of this subsection, and no further communication is required.
Any claim on account of a Treasury check shall be barred unless it is presented to the agency that authorized the issuance of such check within 1 year after the date of issuance of the check or the effective date of this subsection, whichever is later.
Nothing in this subsection affects the underlying obligation of the United States, or any agency thereof, for which a Treasury check was issued.
The official responsible under subsection (a) for settling the claim shall report to Congress on a claim against the Government that is timely presented under this section that may not be adjusted by using an existing appropriation, and that the official believes Congress should consider for legal or equitable reasons. The report shall include recommendations of the official.
The Secretary of Defense may waive the time limitations set forth in subsection (b) or (c) in the case of a claim referred to in subsection (a)(1)(A). In the case of a claim by or with respect to a member of the uniformed services who is not under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of a military department, such a waiver may be made only upon the request of the Secretary concerned (as defined in section 101 of title 37).
Payment of a claim settled under subsection (a)(1)(A) shall be made from an appropriation that is available, for the fiscal year in which the payment is made, for the same purpose as the appropriation to which the obligation claimed would have been charged if the obligation had been timely paid, except that in the case of a claim for retired pay or survivor benefits, if the obligation claimed would have been paid from a trust fund if timely paid, the payment of the claim shall be made from that trust fund.
This subsection does not apply to a claim in excess of $25,000.
(Pub. L. 97–258,
Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 970; Pub. L. 97–452, § 1(14), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2470; Pub. L. 100–86, title X, § 1004(b), Aug. 10, 1987, 101 Stat. 659; Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title VI, § 608, Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2542; Pub. L. 104–316, title II, § 202(n)(1), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3843; Pub. L. 105–85, div. A, title X, § 1012, Nov. 18, 1997, 111 Stat. 1874; Pub. L. 106–398, § 1 [[div. A], title VI, § 664], Oct. 30, 2000, 114 Stat. 1654, 1654A–168; Pub. L. 107–314, div. A, title VI, § 635(a), (b), Dec. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 2574; Pub. L. 109–163, div. A, title X, § 1056(e)(2), Jan. 6, 2006, 119 Stat. 3440.)
cite as: 31 USC 3702