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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

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