More than 1,200 Naval retirees are being asked to repay $7 million that was overpaid in retirement checks because of a computer error.
According to the Navy Times, the computer error resulted in incorrect service time calculations for 1,283 retirees from August 2019 to this past February. The error, according to NBC News, created a total debt of $6.8 million, with overpayments ranging from $35 to more than $70,000, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service said Monday.
Those who received the overpayments can expect to see debt notifications this week, according to the agency. The information will include the debt amount, how to pay the debt or how to request a waiver, according to NBC.
The error was corrected by the April payment, and the retirees saw reductions in their monthly checks.
According to the Navy Times, incorrect data was sent to the DFAS, leading to incorrect calculations on service time. The error caused retirees’ inactive reserve service time to be incorrectly counted as active-duty creditable service. The error led to larger monthly checks.
“From there, the Navy thoroughly investigated the issue, determined the affected population and decided on corrective actions,” Cmdr. Rick Chernitzer, a Navy Personnel Command spokesperson, said in a statement.
“This process took time and was important to ensure we did not negatively affect someone’s pay without understanding the scope of the issue,” he said.
If retirees do not make arrangements to repay the money, the money can be involuntarily deducted from the person’s monthly benefit at a rate of 15% of net disposable pay, DFAS said. Or, the Defense Department “retains the right to pursue other collection methods, as necessary.”
The DOD has seen other errors in the way service time is counted. Dentists and physicians in the Navy Reserves have been told they owe more years of service to get retirement benefits, as have more than 600 Army officers.
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