What You Should Know About VA Debt and Debt Relief Notification
VA is resuming debt notification to veterans effective October 1, 2021.
If you owe VA money for an overpayment related to veterans benefits, or for medical and pharmacy debts, here’s what you need to know.
VA automatically deferred collection of benefit debts created from April 6, 2020 until September 30, 2021, in an effort to alleviate the COVID-19 pandemic. Service debts created before April 6, 2020 have been deferred upon request. VA has also suspended all debt collection activities under the jurisdiction of the US Department of the Treasury until September 30, 2021.
Most VBA benefit debts are collected by the VA Debt Management Center (DMC). This includes debts for benefits, like pay, pension, and education. If VBA created a debt for you while collection was deferred, you have likely received newsletters from DMC informing you that your debt existed, but you did not need to act until September 30, at unless you choose to do so.
What is happening now
On October 1, 2021, the DMC began sending out debt notification letters, which include deadlines for next steps. The letters will be sent out in phases over a period of several months, so you may not receive your debt notification in October. If you have asked DMC to temporarily stop your payment plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will not automatically resume on October 1, 2021.
If you’re having financial difficulty and can’t pay off your VA debt right away, there are a variety of relief options available, including:
- Extend repayment plans
- Request debt relief through the waiver process
- Submit an offer in compromise to settle the debt for an amount less than the total amount
- Request a temporary suspension of reimbursement until September 30, 2022
What happens if you don’t contact DMC when you receive your debt notice?
If you are collecting VA benefits, VA will withhold money from your benefit payments to pay off an unpaid debt. It is important to contact DMC once you have received your debt notification letter if the amount VA is offering to withhold from your benefits is not suitable for you.
Eventually, unpaid debts may become unpaid and subject to referral to the Treasury Department and / or credit bureaus. Currently, DMC continues to suspend further referrals of benefit debts to the Treasury Department or credit reporting agencies to ensure that veterans have sufficient time to make payment arrangements or request relief. For all debts that have already been returned before the pandemic, the Treasury resumes its collection activities from October 1, 2021.
If you need help with options for your VBA benefit debt, call the DMC at 1-800-827-0648 or submit your application online at https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/ask/. Veterans can also access benefit debt information, such as balance and debt letters to https://www.va.gov/manage-va-debt.
Medical care and pharmacy debt
The US bailout, adopted in March 2021, included a provision that canceled co-payments for medical care and pharmacy services received from April 6, 2020 to September 30, 2021, and ordered the issuance of refunds.
To date, VA has canceled $ 880 million in co-payments for more than 2.4 million Veterans, issuing more than $ 240 million in refunds to 1.5 million Veterans who have made payments on established charges. before the adoption of the American rescue plan.
Co-payment for medical care and pharmacy services will resume on October 1, 2021. Statements for October 2021 will show the costs incurred for medical care and pharmacy services provided before April 6, 2020 and on or after October 1, 2021. VA staff completed co-payment reimbursements for care provided from April 6, 2020 to September 30, 2021. VHA began sending out for information only statements in July 2021 to keep Veterans informed of changes. balances due.
Debt relief options such as repayment plans, waivers and compromises are available. Veterans can Click here for more information or call 866-400-1238, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET to find out more.
Patient statements can be viewed online: https://eauth.va.gov/accessva/