Thousands of Defense civilians might have to repay housing allowances

Vitaly Titov & Maria Sidelnikova/Shutterstock.com

Thousands of Defense Department civilian employees could be on the hook to reimburse the department for housing allowances they received by mistake, according to a news report in Stars and Stripes.

The Oct. 16 report cited a memo the news organization obtained from the U.S. European Command that estimated up to 2,000 civilian employees working there could be ineligible for living quarters allowances they received because the department misread regulations. Because of the error, affected employees might have to pay Defense back for the benefit, which could amount to a significant amount of money depending how much they’ve received, according to the story.

A spokesman for EUCOM told Stars and Stripes that the command is seeking a waiver from Defense to forgive any debt owed by affected personnel and also to grant a grace period for those receiving allowances to continue to do so for up to one year while they look for other housing or work.

“The immediate cessation of LQA [living quarters allowance] and the resulting indebtedness will create serious hardship for affected employees as well as our DoD organizations faced with the loss of valuable members of their workforce who possess critical expertise,” wrote EUCOM deputy commander Vice Adm. Charles Martoglio in the May 9 memo Stars and Stripes obtained. Defense has not made a decision yet on a possible waiver.

The issue came to light when a DoD civilian worker in Stuttgart, Germany, filed a claim for a housing allowance and the Office of Personnel Management cited State Department rules which said the benefit applies only to U.S. citizens hired overseas who have worked for just one non-government entity before entering government service. Employees who worked for more than one non-government employer abroad are ineligible for the benefit.

EUCOM has not notified those employees who might be impacted by the mistake, according to the story.

(Image via Vitaly Titov & Maria Sidelnikova/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.