A debtor whose pay is subject to FSO may, at any time, request a review of the amount
or percentage withheld based on financial hardship. (See GN 02250.100 for more information.)
IMPORTANT: SSA will not reduce the amount the federal employer withholds from someone's pay
if the debt was caused by the debtor’s intentional false statement or willful concealment
of or failure to furnish material information. (Willful concealment means an intentional,
knowing and purposeful delay in providing or failure to furnish material information.)
Do not take action on a request for lower offset amount due to hardship when the debt
was caused by the debtor’s intentional false statement or willful concealment of or
failure to furnish material information. (See GN 02201.055.)
Do not honor any requests to lower the offset amount when the overpayment was caused
for the reasons above.
The procedure for handling a debtor's request for a lower withholding amount depends
upon whether SSA can approve the request immediately, or SSA requires financial information
from the debtor before deciding on the request. SSA's approval can be granted immediately
when: (1) the person agrees to a withholding amount that is at least $10 per pay and
which would recover the entire debt within 12 months, or (2) the person agrees to
a withholding amount of at least $10 per pay that will recover the debt within 60
months and the person can demonstrate that a higher amount would prevent the payment
of ordinary and necessary living expenses.
“Ordinary and necessary living expenses” include fixed expenses such as food, clothing,
housing, utilities, maintenance, insurance, tax payments, medical, hospitalization
and similar expenses, expenses for the support of others for whom the debtor is legally
responsible, and other reasonable and necessary miscellaneous expenses which are part
of the debtor’s standard of living. See GN 02201.044B.6. for instructions on processing immediate approvals of hardship requests.
NOTE: A request for reduction of the offset amount due to hardship does not prevent or
stop TOP or credit bureau reporting.