Fact Sheet: Involuntary Allotment From Military Personnel for Commercial Debt

By enacting Public Law 103-94, the "Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993," (codified at 5 U.S.C. 5520a) Congress authorized the garnishment of federal civilian employees' pay to satisfy commercial debts. In that same law, Congress authorized "involuntary allotments" against the pay of active duty and reserve (on active duty for a period more than 180 days pursuant to Title 10) military members to satisfy commercial debts. The portion of the law concerning involuntary allotments against the pay of military members became effective January 1, 1995. The implementing regulation is Indebtedness of Military Personnel, 32 C.F.R. Part 112;113 (1995). It establishes the administrative procedures for evaluating applications and implementing involuntary allotments. Garnishments or wage withholding orders are not necessary, nor will they be accepted, to start an involuntary allotment. Because applicants may be unfamiliar with the administrative procedures involved in applying for an involuntary allotment, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Cleveland Center, Garnishment Operations (DFAS-CL/L), strongly advises that any creditor wishing to utilize this procedure review a copy of the regulation prior to filing an application.

It is Department of Defense policy that military members are expected to pay their just financial obligations in a proper and timely manner. Creditors whose efforts to collect a debt have failed and who have been awarded a civil judgment against a military member, may seek enforcement of the judgment by applying for an involuntary allotment from the member's military pay. If approved, the allotment can pay up to a maximum of twenty-five percent (25%) of the member's disposable pay per monthly pay period. (Note: not all pay that a military member receives is subject to involuntary allotment. A complete listing of pay subject to involuntary allotment and pay excluded from involuntary allotment is contained in the regulation.)

A creditor may initiate this process against a military member by submitting an Involuntary Allotment Application (DD Form 2653) along with a certified copy of a final judgment issued by a civil court. An original and three copies of both the form and the judgment are required. Also, the application must contain the member's full name and social security number for positive identification. Send the completed package to the following address:

Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Cleveland Center, Code L
PO Box 998002
Cleveland, Ohio 44199-8002
(216) 522-5301 (Customer Service)

DD Form 2653 may be obtained by downloading the form from this website or by writing the address above or by calling (216) 522-5301. The form can also be downloaded from the DFAS website. Creditors should expect payments to begin 90 to 120 days after DFAS-CL has received their completed application. Please be sure to include your return address on any correspondence, not just on the mailing envelope.

Defense Finance and Accounting Service Cleveland Center, Garnishment Operations (DFAS-CL/L), is the only authorized agent for service of these applications for all branches of the military services (except the U.S. Coast Guard). Applications sent to any other address will be returned without action.

Upon receipt of a properly completed application package, DFAS-CL/L will perform an initial legal review. This initial review will consist of an examination of the application form to ensure it has been filled out properly and that the information is consistent with the information contained in the accompanying judgment. The judgment must award a sum certain amount and specify that the amount is to be paid by an individual. Post judgment interest is payable under the regulation provided it is awarded in the judgment. Applicants who submit judgments from jurisdictions where post judgment interest is statutory should submit copies of the statute that authorizes the interest along with their application.

Additionally, during the initial review, DFAS-CL/L will determine whether the procedural requirements of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. Sec. 501-591) were complied with. Of specific concern are those provisions contained in 50 U.S.C. App. Sec. 520, which deal with procedures to be followed in default judgment cases. Applications containing judgments that are determined to not comply with these provisions will be rejected with an accompanying explanation.

Applications which pass the initial legal review will be forwarded along with a DD Form 2654 (Commander's Notification and Member Response) to the member's commander. The application is due back to the DFAS-CL/L 90 days from the date it is mailed to the commander. If no response is received by the due date, the DFAS-CL/L will process the case for payment on the 15th calendar day after the response was due.

The commander has the responsibility, within 5 days of receiving the package from DFAS-CL/L, to notify the member of the action and to inform the member of the right to either consent or contest the involuntary allotment. The member then has 15 days to provide a response to the member and the member's commander. However, the commander may extend the member's time to respond for good cause. Under normal circumstances, these extensions will not exceed 30 days. However, during times of deployment, war, national emergency, assignment outside the United States, hospitalization, or other similar situations which prevent the member from obtaining necessary evidence or from responding in a timely manner, extensions exceeding 30 days may be granted.

If the member consents to the involuntary allotment, the DD Form 2654 will be completed and returned to DFAS-CL/L. Payments will begin within 30 days of DFAS-CL's' receipt of the packet. A member who elects to contest the involuntary allotment may do so for a number of reasons. Regardless of the reason for contesting, the member must provide evidence to the commander of the basis for the contention. In all but one instance, the commander will forward the evidence to DFAS-CL/L for a final determination of whether or not the allotment will be established. If the member contests the allotment on the basis of "Exigencies of Military Duty", the commander has the responsibility to make the determination of whether "Exigencies of Military Duty" (as defined in 32 C.F.R. Part 112.3(d)) caused the "absence" of the member from appearance in a judicial proceeding that forms the basis for the judgment upon which application is sought. See 32 C.F.R. Part 113.6(b)(2)(D)(iii)(D)(2). The commander's decision on this issue is binding on DFAS. If the commander finds exigencies of military duty to be a valid defense, the application will be noted and returned to DFAS. DFAS will return the application to the applicant without action. Within 60 days of DFAS mailing this notification, an applicant may appeal this decision to the appellate authority, which is found on the returned DD Form 2654.

Once the completed DD Form 2654 is returned to DFAS-CL/L from the commander of the member, DFAS will make a final review of the packet to determine if the member has made a valid defense to the involuntary allotment being established. For those cases where DFAS-CL/L determines the member has not raised a valid defense, the allotment will be established within 30 days of their receipt of the packet from the commander. In cases where DFAS determines a valid defense was raised, the applicant will be notified that the allotment will not be established. A copy of the member's response, raising a valid defense, will be forwarded to the applicant.

Questions concerning the Involuntary Allotments process can be directed to (216) 522-5301.

Garnishment Operations Facsimile (FAX) Information:
Fax Phone Number: Commercial (216) 522-6960 or DSN 580-6960.

In improving the processes in the Garnishment Operations we are now using a fax gateway directly into our Electronic Document Management System. To ensure your document is processed in a timely and efficient manner you must include the following information on the fax document and follow the additional guidance provided:

  • Member/Employee Social Security Number (SSN) - Court Orders/Documents will not be processed if the SSN is not on the document
  • Return Phone Number
  • Return Fax Number
  • Ensure original documents are clear and legible
  • In each fax transmission, include only correspondence for one member or employee (if you have multiple documents for one member, they can be sent on one fax transmission)

Last updated: March 12, 1999 at 07:17

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