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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.