As a general rule, repayment will not be sought if the member’s inability to fulfill the eligibility requirements is due to circumstances determined reasonably beyond the member’s control:
1. Repayment shall not be sought and any remaining unpaid portion of a pay or benefit due to a member under a written agreement that existed at the time of the member’s death, which was not the result of the member’s misconduct, is payable as a lump sum in the settlement of the decedent’s final military pay account.
2. Repayment shall not be sought and any remaining unpaid portion of a pay or benefit due to a member under a written agreement shall be paid at the time of separation or retirement for a disability described under Chapter 61 of title 10, U.S.C., that was incurred in the line of duty in a combat zone designated by the President or the Secretary of Defense or in a combat-related operation designated by the Secretary of Defense, and/or for a combat-related disability, as defined under section 1413a(e) of title 10, U.S.C.. Repayment will be sought and any unpaid balances may not be paid to members who incur a disability as a result of their misconduct. (See 10 U.S.C. §1207.) In all other instances involving a member's separation for medical reasons not falling under Chapter 61 or section 1413a(e), which were not the result of the member’s misconduct, the Secretary concerned has the discretion to determine whether to require repayment of the unearned portion of the pay or benefit, or to pay an unpaid balance of a pay or benefit.
3. Subject to the enlistment authorities under titles 10 and 37, U.S.C., and the relevant regulations of the Secretary concerned, a member paid a bonus or special pay for a period of enlistment in a Military Department, who is discharged for immediate reenlistment or appointment in a Military Department for which no bonus or special pay is paid, may be considered to have completed the full term of service specified in the former enlistment contract, provided the term of the latter reenlistment or appointment includes the remaining period of service from the former enlistment. The member's enlisted bonus or special pay entitlements shall be addressed prior to discharge from a Military Department.
4. Repayment will not be sought and the Secretary concerned will not pay any remaining unpaid portion of a pay or benefit under the following circumstances, unless otherwise authorized by the Secretary concerned under paragraph (5) below:
- The member’s employment in another military specialty or assignment rotation is directed;
- The member’s military specialty or assignment is phased out or eliminated;
- The member’s military specialty or assignment is otherwise affected by a force structure or other mission essential requirement; or,
- The member’s hardship separation or sole survivor discharge from service.
5. Under all other circumstances, the Secretary concerned has the discretion to, at some point in the process, render a case-by-case determination that the member’s repayment of, or the Military Department’s full payment of an unpaid portion of, a pay or benefit is appropriate based on the following:
- Contrary to a personnel policy or management objective;
- Against equity and good conscience; or
- Contrary to the best interest of the United States.
The Secretary concerned may, through regulation, delegate the authority to make repayment determinations consistent with the criteria set forth above, but not below the O-6 or equivalent level. If delegated, the Military Departments shall specify the level and scope of the authorized delegation in implementing regulations.