EPA proposes to garnish employee wages

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend EPA’s claims collection standards to include administrative wage garnishment. This rule amends the EPA’s debt collection regulations to implement the administrative wage garnishment provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA), P.L. 104–134. The proposed rule will allow the EPA to garnish non-federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the U.S. without first obtaining a court order. The EPA approved an amendment to EPA’s regulations on claims collection standards by using administrative wage garnishment as a direct final rule without a prior proposed rule. If there are no adverse comments, the direct final rule will go into effect and there will be no further action on this proposed rule.

Current procedures

Under the administrative wage garnishment provisions of the DCIA, federal agencies may garnish administratively up to 15% of the disposal pay of a debtor to satisfy a delinquent non-tax debt owed to the U.S. Prior to the enactment of the DCIA, federal agencies were required to obtain a court judgment before garnishing non-federal wages. Note, that Sec. 31001(o) of the DCIA preempts state laws that prohibit wage garnishment or otherwise govern wage garnishment procedures.

Comments are invited

Written comments must be received by August 1, 2014. Submit comments by one of the following methods: 1. Email: jones.anita@epa.gov; 2. Fax: (202) 565-2585; or 3. Mail: OCFO–2014-0001; FRL- 9910–13–OCFO, FPPS c/o Anita Jones, OCFO/OFM/FPPS, Mailcode 2733R, Environmental Protection Agency, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460. Comments may be submitted electronically by following the detailed instructions above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: FPPS c/o Anita Jones, OCFO/OFM/ FPPS, Mailcode 2733R, Environmental Protection Agency, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-4969; fax number: (202) 565-2585; email address: jones.anita@epa.gov. (79 FR 37704, July 2, 2014.)
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