VA is resuming debt notification to Veterans effective Oct. 1, 2021.

If you owe money to VA for an overpayment related to Veterans benefits, or for medical care and pharmacy debt, here is what you need to know.

Benefit debt 

VA automatically deferred collection on benefit debts created on or after April 6, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021, to provide relief from the COVID-19 pandemic. Benefit debts created prior to April 6, 2020, had collection deferred upon request. VA also paused all collection activity on debts under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Treasury until Sept. 30, 2021.

Most VBA benefit debts are collected by the VA Debt Management Center (DMC). This includes debts for benefits, like compensation, pension and education. If VBA created a debt for you while collection was deferred, you likely received informational letters from DMC letting you know your debt existed, but you didn’t need to act until after September 30 unless you chose to do so.

What’s happening now

On Oct. 1, 2021, the DMC began sending debt notification letters, which include timelines for next steps. The letters will be sent in phases over a period of several months, so you may not receive your debt notification in October. If you requested DMC to temporarily stop your payment plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will not automatically resume on Oct. 1, 2021.

Relief Options

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and can’t repay your VA debt right away, there are a variety of relief options available, including:

  • Extending repayment plans
  • Requesting debt forgiveness through the waiver process
  • Submitting a compromise offer to settle the debt for less than the full amount
  • Requesting a temporary hardship suspension of repayment until September 30, 2022

What happens if you don’t contact DMC when you receive your debt notice?

If you are receiving VA benefits, VA will withhold money from your benefit payments to pay an outstanding debt. It is important to contact DMC once you receive your debt notification letter if the amount VA is proposing to withhold from your benefits doesn’t work for you.

Eventually, unpaid debts can become delinquent and subject to referral to the Department of the Treasury and/or Credit Reporting Agencies. Currently, DMC is continuing to pause new benefit debt referrals to the Department of Treasury or Credit Reporting Agencies to make sure Veterans have plenty of time to make payment arrangements or request relief. For any debts that were already referred before the pandemic, Treasury is resuming collection activities beginning Oct. 1, 2021.

Contact Info

If you need assistance with options for your VBA benefit debt, call the DMC at 1-800-827-0648 or submit your request online at Veterans can also access benefit debt information, such as balance and debt letters at

Medical care and pharmacy debt

The American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021, included a provision that canceled copayments for medical care and pharmacy services received April 6, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021, and directed refunds to be issued.

To date, VA has canceled $880 million in copayments for over 2.4 million Veterans, issuing over $240 million in refunds to 1.5 million Veterans who made payments on charges established prior to the passing of the American Rescue Plan.

Collection of copayments for medical care and pharmacy services will resume on Oct. 1, 2021. October 2021 statements will show charges incurred for medical care and pharmacy services provided prior to April 6, 2020 and on or after Oct. 1, 2021. VA staff has completed copayment refunds for care provided April 6, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021. VHA began sending statements for information only in July 2021 to keep Veterans informed of balances owed.

Debt relief options such as repayment plans, waivers and compromises are available. Veterans can click here for information or call 866-400-1238, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET to learn more.

Patient statements can be viewed online:

By Debt Management Center

Share this story

Published on Oct. 1, 2021

Estimated reading time is 3.2 min.

Views to date: 1,660


  1. Jean October 11, 2021 at 10:03 am

    When they allow IRS to take your SS monies the collector for the VA is charging about 30% of what is collected. So, for every hundred they collect for your debt only about 65% to 70% goes toward your debt. Is this not loan sharking???

  2. John B. October 7, 2021 at 10:58 am

    I haven’t received a letter yet, stating that I owe the VA for co-pays to prescriptions. I certainly hope I don’t, These we’re supposed to be eliminated, to my understanding. ‘Debt Relief’ means exactly that.

  3. Jim Bingham October 6, 2021 at 6:53 am

    The VA system is as good as it gets.
    I’ve used 4 different mid-west
    VA medical facilities since my discharge 5/1971.
    Most of the services were related to my service , but some wasn’t, and the VA TEAM still treated the situation.

    Would challenge anyone to even think they would get this high quality care from the private sector.

    Vietnam veteran, and very comforted we have the VA system.

  4. Carl Selrtecht October 5, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    I received a letter that stated I would receive a check for over 200 dollars. I have not received it.

  5. John P Sullivan October 5, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    WHAT part of this VA notice to Veterans today in October 2021 do people not understand ???

    QUOTE” Collection of copayments for medical care and pharmacy services will resume on Oct. 1, 2021. October 2021 statements will show charges incurred for medical care and pharmacy services provided prior to April 6, 2020 and on or after Oct. 1, 2021.
    VA staff has completed copayment refunds for care provided April 6, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021.
    VHA began sending statements for information only in July 2021 to keep Veterans informed of balances owed”….. from the past never billed !!!

  6. Will Olive October 5, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Not only did they lie about “forgiving” the debt, (in the mean time) they started going after veterans with new ways of collecting through the “means” test

    • Paulette McCoy October 14, 2021 at 4:34 am

      Will, they tried to pull that one on me. I guess whoever it was that told me I needed to fill one out, didnt get the memo, that the VA gets their information to verify income from the IRS or Social Security. I always hated those things. They were a nightmare. I havent filled one out in years.

  7. Ed Simmons October 5, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    I simply don’t understand these complaints about YA short-comings.

    I reside in San Diego and all, I mean ALL, of my dealings with the VA have been extraordinarly good, dare I say magnificent.

    Is it possible these complaints are reginal?

  8. John J OMalia October 5, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    The article mentioned several relief options, chose the one best for you.

  9. Josiah October 5, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Would be nice if VA would clarify this Copay elimination? deferred?, wiped out? refund? to regain credibility and trust to the veterans. Notify your representative and have them go to work on the issue.

  10. Wyo Slim October 5, 2021 at 10:42 am

    I received a letter that says I have a debt to pay. But it doesn’t tell me how I incurred the debt, and what is it I am being charged for. I will try the online links listed in the article.

  11. Major Payne October 5, 2021 at 9:11 am

    Federal Bureaucracy, many of us kept the VA e-mail newsletter dtd 03-29-2021, which states in the header, “Copayment Debts to be Canceled, Refunded” — “VA copayments received between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021, will be waived or refunded under the American Recovery Plan.”

    Furthermore, somebody working the VA Website better amend, modify, delete from this page ( the line that reads, ), all those bullet points under, “Here is how the American Rescue Plan will help VA improve Veterans’ lives” before one of those independent BLOGs or the NYT scraps that page.

    Just sayin’.

  12. T Williams October 5, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Doesn’t seem like no one from the v.a. really gives a sht. They put this stuff up to make themselves look good in the public eye!
    Then ignore the vet!

  13. RODNEY WESTON October 5, 2021 at 7:46 am

    How has this helped veterans? I thought the debt was forgiven. Now I have a whopping bill coming unexpectedly that will definitely cost me a hardship.

    • John J OMalia October 5, 2021 at 12:34 pm

      The article lists several debt-relief options, chose the one best for you.

    • Will Olive October 5, 2021 at 5:15 pm

      You totally nailed it Mr. Weston, they played us like fools! They did everything “their” way (for some reason, hmmm), thanks for asking us about anything?? : ((

  14. Stevan Regalado October 4, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    Why doesn’t the OWCP adhere to the ECAB debit forgiveness decisions? I was given the the statement that I could apply to the ECAB and I did but their decisions are continued to be ignored.

  15. Guy L Giacobbe October 3, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Donot understand comment waiting for moderation

  16. Guy L Giacobbe October 3, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Thank U for this information and for the previous notification about these dates

  17. George E Stuart IV October 2, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    The VA is corrupt. You guys take far more money per day then I have received from you guys. When the debt is overpaid off you guys come back for more of my money. No matter how many times i have presented the evidence like spreadsheets with amounts received, amounts taken and including records etc. Stop stealing my disability money..

  18. Liam October 1, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    My debit was definitely not automatically deferred. I asked them if they could refund it and continue taking it out when it started again, they told me a firm NO.

  19. Reginald Masten October 1, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    Veteran debt should be deferred/wiped out BEFORE student debt. There I said it!

  20. Grant Fisk October 1, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    We were told the Prescription Copays were ELIMINATED from April 2021 thru September 30, 2021! No mention of DEFERRING them. What gives?

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Here are the most asked questions and answers about Long COVID. Also, a list of many of the symptoms. Use this list to tell your clinician or care team.

  • American Corporate Partners' mentoring program pairs Veterans with Fortune 500 corporate professionals for free, one-on-one mentorships.

  • To support Purple Heart Veterans, the Warrior Bonfire Program organizes small outdoor retreats, including hiking, horseback riding and fishing.