Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session: Refunding Accidental Additional Money from an Agency

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Q:

I received additional money in my paycheck. In my previous positions, it was not uncommon to receive awards without notification, so I assumed the additional money was a performance award. I have since been informed that it was an error and I need to repay the money. Am I responsible for someone else’s mistake?

A:

Yes, you must repay that money, regardless of whether or not you have already spent it.  It is not your money to keep.  You are only entitled to money or benefits from the government which are entitled to you by law.  You are not entitled to money or benefits from the government simply because the government, or someone acting on behalf of the government, erroneously gave it to you.

This response is written by Christopher J. Keeven, supervisory attorney of Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C., a federal employment law firm.

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