Recently, VA announced that Veterans will continue to have the option to request a temporary benefit debt suspension through December 31, 2022. In addition to offering flexible debt collection relief in difficult times, VA has been hard at work making the experience of repaying a VA debt less stressful by removing barriers to requesting debt relief.

DMC eliminated paperwork requirements for temporary benefit debt suspension

Since April 2020, VA has provided Veterans experiencing financial hardship the option to temporarily suspend collection of benefit debts with no paperwork required. VA recently extended the end date for this relief option from September 30, 2022, until December 31, 2022, to provide over 30 months of debt relief to Veterans since April 2020. To request a temporary hardship suspension for a benefit debt, Veterans can call the Debt Management Center (DMC) at 800-827-0648 or sign in to Ask VA (https://ask.va.gov) to send a request (options to reach DMC are found under the “Veterans Affairs-Debt” category).

Veterans who previously requested a temporary hardship suspension for their benefit debt through September 30, 2022, will automatically have their suspension extended until December 31, 2022.

Reducing the number of Veterans reported to Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs)

In February 2022, VA published an update to Federal Regulations resulting in a 99% reduction in unfavorable debt reported to consumer reporting agencies (CRA). You can read more details in the press release here.

How this change helps

VA will not report a debt to CRA until all available collection efforts are exhausted and the specified debt becomes classified as not collectible. In other words, “not collectible” means the debt is not just delinquent, but VA has also tried every other available collection option without success. VA will also not report debts owed by Veterans determined to be catastrophically disabled or entitled to VA’s cost-free health care due to low income.

Launched an enhanced online debt collection portal

VA’s debt portal launched in January 2021, allowing Veterans to manage their VA debt online. Since launching, the portal has added capability to send email notifications offering online debt resolution for VBA overpayments with email confirmation. In July 2022, the debt portal was updated to allow Veterans to see both VBA benefit debt and VHA medical copay information in one place.

How this change helps

Veterans now have a central location to access their VBA debt notices, their VHA medical copay statements, and their debt resolution options.

Extended the grace period before offsetting benefits from 30 to 90 days for compensation & pension (C&P) debts

In January 2021, VA extended the time from 30 to 90 days for Veterans to address their C&P debt before deductions from their benefit payments begin.

How this change helps

Veterans with C&P payments now receive additional time to work with a Veterans Service Officer and contact VA for assistance before their benefit payments are reduced to satisfy the debt. During this time, Veterans can request an extended repayment plan or request a debt waiver, compromise, or temporary suspension.

Updated letters to provide resources on managing financial stress

VA’s Debt Management Center partnered with the VHA Behavioral Health Office to add language to debt notification letters on how to manage financial stress and to provide online resources on mental health. Veterans can access this information at http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus/. The updated letters launched in March 2021.

How this change helps

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, including feelings of stress, fear, anxiety, or depression. The letter updates make important information available to Veterans who may need support.

Contact Info

Veterans can access VA debt information at www.va.gov/manage-va debt. Veterans and beneficiaries with questions regarding overpayments of VBA benefits can call 800-827-0648. For questions about medical and pharmacy copayment debt, contact the Health Resource Center at 866-400-1238.

By VA Debt Management Center (DMC)

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Published on Sep. 9, 2022

Estimated reading time is 3.1 min.

Views to date: 4,116

3 Comments

  1. John D. Wise September 24, 2022 at 12:40 am - Reply

    I would’ve appreciated more than just a puzzling letter and a pack of blank forms notifying me that I had a debt. When I called asking for assistance but ended up being past from one person to another. Seems like VA just become a department of 8 to 4’s – no compassion!

  2. Pamala McBrayer September 16, 2022 at 11:15 am - Reply

    I hope that Treasury Offset Program will share this information to those already experiencing Federal benefits offsets for bills.

  3. David L Culberson September 12, 2022 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    I would just like a detailed bill that can be understood by a normal person.

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