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DoD grants first waivers on housing assistance debts

Aug. 23, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
The Defense Department had ruled in May that hundreds of civilians had to repay living quarters allowances that DoD determined has paid in error.
The Defense Department had ruled in May that hundreds of civilians had to repay living quarters allowances that DoD determined has paid in error. (Defense Department)

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The Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals has approved the first 27 requests from Defense Department civilian employees seeking relief from demands that they repay tens of thousands of dollars in overseas housing allowances, according to a Thursday news release.

“This is great news for these employees and we expect more positive decisions in the coming weeks,” Aaron Gillison, director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s Indianapolis site, said in the release.

Following an audit, the Pentagon had ruled in May that 659 civilians working mainly in Asia and Europe had to repay living quarters allowances (LQA) that DoD determined has paid by mistake. For some recipients, the amount of money at stake runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The department has declined to grant a blanket waiver; instead, each affected employee must file a waiver request through DFAS, which recommends whether it should be granted. The hearing and appeals office then makes the final decision.

While some employees have voiced concern that signing the waiver request acknowledges the debt’s legitimacy, Gillison stressed that it is not an admission of liability

“I hope these first approvals assist those still considering whether they will file a waiver in making a decision,” Gillison said.

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