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Privacy Act System of Records: Claims Office Master Files, EPA-24

[excerpted from: Federal Register: February 22, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 36)]

System Name: Claims Office Master Files.

System Location: Office of General Counsel, Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460.

Categories of Individuals Covered by the System: The Claims Office Master Files (COMF) contains claim records affecting individuals in six categories. COMF-TOR is composed of records covering individuals filing claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq., for money damages for injury, death or damage caused by the negligence or wrongful acts or omissions of employees of EPA. COMF-FCC is comprised of records covering individuals who are indebted to EPA and against whom EPA has initiated actions under the Federal Claims Collection Act, as amended, 31 U.S.C. 3711 et seq. COMF-MCE is composed of records covering individuals making claims for loss or damage to personal property under the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims act, 31 U.S.C. 3721. COMF-WAV is composed of records covering individuals requesting waiver under 5 U.S.C. 5584 of claims for erroneous payments of salary or transportation expenses. COMF-GAR is composed of records covering EPA employees whose salaries are garnished under 42 U.S.C. 659, 661-662 for alimony, child support, or commercial garnishments. COMF-RCD is composed of records covering individuals claiming reimbursement of collision deductible payments on rental vehicles.

Categories of Records in the System:

  1. COMF-TOR contains records relating to tort claims against EPA. It may contain administrative claims, investigative reports, witness statements, certifications of scope of employment, damage estimates, medical records, letters to claimants, claimant responses, the Agency final decision on claims, and other records concerning tort claims. COMF-FCC contains documents relating to debts owed EPA by individuals, corporations, State and local governments, and Indian tribes. It may include documents which evidence the debt (e.g., audit reports, travel voucher, consent decrees, etc.), demand letters, debtor responses, credit reports, information obtained from private collection agencies, and other records concerning debt claims. It may contain the social security numbers of individual debtors to the extent such numbers are contained in travel vouchers or other documents upon which the debt is based.
  2. COMF-MCE contains records relating to employee claims for loss or damage to personal property. It may contain administrative claim forms, investigative reports, supervisor's reports, accident reports, documentation of the amounts claimed as damages, the Agency final action on claims, and other records concerning employee property claims.
  3. COMF-WAV contains records relating to employee requests for waiver by the Government of claims for erroneous payment of salary or travel expenses. It may contain employee request for waiver forms, investigative reports and recommendations, certifications of the amount of overpayment, personnel records relevant to overpayments, evidence of the Government's final action on the request, and other records concerning waiver requests. The social security number of the employee is contained in the file.
  4. COMF-GAR contains legal documents supporting the garnishment of the salary of EPA employees. It may include the order of garnishment or attachment, notices to the employee of garnishment, responses by the employee, payroll information, and other records concerning garnishment requests. The social security number of the employee may be contained in the file.
  5. COMF-RCD contains records required to settle claims against EPA employees for rental car damage deductible claims. It may contain rental agreements, accident reports, damage estimates, employee requests for reimbursement, travel vouchers, correspondence with rental car companies, evidence of the Agency final action on the claim, and other records concerning rental car deductible claims.

Authority for Maintenance of the System (includes any revisions or amendments):

  • COMF-TOR: 28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq. and 40 CFR part 10.
  • COMF-FCC: 31 U.S.C. 3711 et seq. and 4 CFR parts 101-105.
  • COMF-MCE: 31 U.S.C. 3721 and 40 CFR part 14.
  • COMF-WAV: 5 U.S.C. 5584 and 4 CFR parts 91-92.
  • COMF-GAR: 42 U.S.C. 659, 661-662 and 5 CFR part 581.
  • COMF-RCD: 5 U.S.C. 5704.

Purpose(s): To assist the EPA Claims Office in managing its receipt, tracking, processing, and resolution of claims and to assist the Department of Justice and EPA in final resolution of claims.

Routine Uses of Records Maintained in the System, Including Categories of Users, and the Purposes of Such Uses: General routine uses A, D, E, F, G, H, J, and K apply to this system. Records may also be disclosed:

  1. To a Federal, State or local agency where necessary to enable EPA to obtain information relevant to an EPA decision concerning a claim by or against an employee.
  2. Records maintained in the COMF-FCC subsystem may be disclosed to commercial collection agencies under contract with EPA, as provided by 31 U.S.C. 3718 and 40 CFR part 13, for collection Purpose (s)s.
  3. Records maintained in the COMF-RCD subsystem may be disclosed to rental car companies as part of EPA's resolution of claims by the rental car companies for damage.
  4. Records maintained in COMF-RCD may be disclosed to Federal agencies where relevant to their involvement in the rental agreement or claims arising from it.
  5. Records maintained in the COMF-GAR subsystem may be disclosed to the State agency responsible for child support and/or alimony collection and enforcement, and for enforcing commercial garnishment orders.

Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies: Disclosures pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(12) may be made from records maintained in the COMF-FCC subsystem to consumer reporting agencies as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f)) or the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (31 U.S.C. 3701(a)(3)(B)).

Policies and Practices For Storing, Retrieving, Accessing, Retaining, and Disposing of Records in the System:

  • Storage: In file folders in file cabinets within the Claims Office. Records are accessible through computer indexes maintained in the Claims Office.

  • Retrievability: By the name of the person, corporation, local or state government or Indian tribe, and the assigned claim number. This information is maintained in computer indexes within the Claims Office.

  • Safeguards: Computer records are maintained in a secure, password protected computer system. Paper records are maintained in lockable file cabinets. All records are maintained in secure, access-controlled areas or buildings.

  • Retention and Disposal: COMF records are retained for ten (10) years. A resolved claim is retained within the Claims Office for five (5) years then transferred to the Federal Records Center where it is retained for an additional five (5) years. The record is destroyed by the Federal Records Center at the end of the retention period.

System Manager(s) and Address: EPA Claims Officer, Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460.

Notification Procedures: Any individual who wants to know whether this system of records contains a record about him or her, who wants access to his or her record, or who wants to contest the contents of a record, should make a written request to the System Manager.

Access Procedure: Requesters will be required to provide adequate identification, such as a driver's license, employee identification card, or other identifying document. Additional identification procedures may be required in some instances.

Contesting Procedure: Requests for correction or amendment must identify the record to be changed and the corrective action sought. Complete EPA Privacy Act procedures are set out in 40 CFR Part 16.

Record Source Categories: Record subjects and EPA employees in their official capacities. Other sources are:

  • COMF-TOR--local police authorities and witnesses;
  • COMF-FCC--private collection agencies and credit bureaus, other Federal agencies, local officials and State employees;
  • COMF-MCE--law enforcement and security personnel;
  • COMF-GAR--State court authorities and garnishers;
  • COMF-RCD--rental car companies and automobile repair companies.