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Office of the General Counsel

Date: October 2, 1998
Matter of: [xxx]
File Number: s98001982

OPM Contact: Jo-Ann Chabot

A Federal employee requested that the [agency] waive or, alternatively, pay the interest on his deposit to gain retirement credit under the Civil Service Retirement System for his military service with the United States Army from December 8, 1977 to December 7, 1981. The claimant alleges that the [agency], his employer, gave him erroneous advice concerning payment of the military deposit and that the advice resulted in an accrual of interest on his deposit. We cannot approve this claim for the reasons stated below.

The claimant initially filed this claim with the [agency], where it was denied on the basis that the [agency] did not have any statutory authority to use its appropriated funds to rectify the mistake and allow payment of the interest. As set out in sections 23A3.1-5K and 23B, 1-2 of The CSRS and FERS Handbook for Personnel and Payroll Offices, there is no provision in law or regulation permitting the waiver of interest on military deposit accounts. Therefore, the interest on the claimant's deposit cannot be waived.

These provisions in the Handbook also specify that, if an agency determines that it made an error which caused the employee to be liable for additional interest, and the agency has authorization to spend monies for this purpose, it may pay, on behalf of the employee, the interest charges caused by its errors. The [agency] states that it is not aware of any provision authorizing the expenditure of its appropriated funds for this purpose. We also are not aware of any statutory authority that would allow the [agency] to expend its appropriated funds on behalf of the claimant by paying the interest on due on his retirement contribution. Accordingly, we concur in the [agency's] denial of the claimant's request to waive or pay the interest on his deposit. See George W. Schlossnagle, B-270151 (January 16, 1996).

Finally, the claimant's allegation that [agency] officials gave him inaccurate advice regarding his retirement contributions does not provide a basis for approving this claim. Payments of money from the federal treasury are limited to those authorized by law, and erroneous advice or information provided by a government employee cannot bar the government from denying benefits that are not otherwise permitted by law. Office of Personnel Management v. Richmond, 496 U.S. 414, 110 S. Ct. 2465, rehearing denied, 497 U.S. 1046, 111 S. Ct. 5 (1990). Accordingly, this claim is denied.

This settlement is final. No further administrative review is available within the Office of Personnel Management. Nothing in this settlement limits the claimant's right to bring an action in an appropriate United States Court.

Control Panel