Forced retirement


Q. I am 60 years old and just found out that after 38 years of service, my job will be abolished.  I have two weeks to accept my retirement package. Now, I will be forced to pay back the leave I used last year when I had a kidney transplant.  Do I have any room to negotiate or do I have to accept the received package as is?  Can I at least negotiate not having to pay the leave back since I’m not retiring willingly?

A. According to OPM, “Under 5 U.S.C. 5584, an authorized official may waive recovery of overpayments resulting from erroneous payment to an employee of (1) pay or allowances or (2) travel, transportation, or relocation expenses and allowances. Use of the waiver authority is discretionary on the part of the authorized official. An employee’s overpayment debt may be waived in whole or in part. A waiver decision must be based on a finding that collection would be against equity and good conscience and not in the best interests of the United States. An erroneous payment for which collection is waived is deemed to be a valid payment… Under 5 U.S.C. 5584(a)(2), the head of an Executive agency is authorized to waive an amount not more than $1,500 (per individual claim), while higher amounts must be waived by an “authorized official,” which under § 5584(g)(2) is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)… The Director of OMB has delegated OMB’s waiver authority (including the § 5584(a)(2)(B) authority to prescribe standards) to the Executive agency that made the erroneous payment in question.

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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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