Proposed Legislation for Relief From Indebtedness of Individuals Transferred From Postal Service to DOL]

Gao ID: B-203750 August 7, 1981

Legislation proposed by the Department of Labor would relieve 5 individuals from debts owed to the United States. The debts represent overpayment of travel and relocation expenses arising from the individuals' transfers from the U.S. Postal Service to the Department of Labor. Labor had assured them that they would be paid for relocation expenses. However, after payment was made, Labor determined that authority for payment of such expenses did not exist and notified those individuals that they were indebted to the United States for the amount that they had been erroneously paid. GAO has held that an employee who transfers from the Postal Service to an Executive agency is not eligible for reimbursement of relocation expenses. GAO construction of an applicable statute excludes the Postal Service from the definition of Executive agency. Thus, the status of employees transferring from the Postal Service to Executive agencies is analagous to that of new appointees who are not eligible for reimbursement of travel, transportation, and relocation expenses. Authority to waive the debts in these circumstances does not exist. GAO had no objection to the private relief legislation proposed by Labor to grant relief to the 5 individuals in this case.

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