H.R. 4138 would grant the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the authority to recoup from an employee any relocation expenses paid on behalf of that employee if VA determines that such repayment is appropriate. Affected employees would have to be provided with a notice of recoupment and an opportunity for a hearing conducted by another agency of the federal government. Under current law, VA has the authority to recoup such payments from an employee only if VA has determined that such employee has been paid incorrectly.
The new authority would apply to payments made by VA before the date of enactment of H.R. 4138, as well as those made after that date. On the basis of discussions with the department, CBO expects that this provision would be used infrequently, primarily to recoup payments made to VA employees who were later determined to have committed a serious violation of the department’s standards of conduct. Over the 2011-2015 period, VA paid, on average, about $26 million per year to relocate about 900 individuals annually.
Most federal statutes of limitation are no more than six years. On that basis, CBO expects that VA would not attempt to recoup payments made more than six years prior to the date of enactment. In addition, the authority would only affect current employees of VA; employees who resigned or retired would be exempt from recoupment.