VA Suspends Debt Collection Thru September 2021

Updated: February 26, 2021

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    The VA will continue the suspension of collection on all Veteran benefit overpayments and medical copayment debts through Sept. 30, 2021. “My top priority right now is to do everything in our power to help our Veterans, caregivers and their families get through this challenging COVID-19 pandemic,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.

    Veterans and beneficiaries with questions regarding benefit overpayments can see frequently asked questions, go online to submit requests or call 1-800-698-2411 (1-800-MyVA411). Call volume is generally lower Tuesday-Friday.


    What Is The VA Debt Management Program? VA Debt Management Program: Help for Veterans Who Owe The VA

    The Department of Veterans Affairs pays literally billions of dollars every year to veterans and their families. In 2018 alone, VA payments to veterans totaled above $76 billion. That doesn’t include the amounts paid to surviving spouses and other family members, coming in at more than $6 billion.

    These payments are made from a range of programs. VA money comes in the form of education benefits such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but also in the form of VA pensions, and VA compensation for service-connected medical issues.

    The VA Debt Management Center official page explains that it’s possible for vets, family members, and currently serving active duty military to incur debt to the VA “as a result of their participation in most VA compensation, pension and education programs as well as home loans closed before Jan. 1, 1990.” Why?

    No system is perfect, and certainly no government system is perfect. Mistakes are made. Some of those mistakes involve the VA overpaying a beneficiary, student, or retiree. Veterans who are overpaid by the VA will be contacted by the agency at some point to discuss repayment; a result of that process can include a referral to the VA Debt Management system to make payment arrangements.

    When You Owe A Debt To The Department Of Veterans Affairs

    Those indebted to the VA normally receive letters from the VA Debt Management Center, showing them the amount of the debt, instructions for payment, and information about a payment plan when needed. The VA also has information on what to do “if payment of the debt would cause hardship.”


    How To Pay The VA

    The first and most important step is to contact the VA to discuss your circumstances. Once a payment agreement has been made, you can pay online using a debit card or ACH withdrawal.

    There is a Pay Online page to use for this purpose but DO NOT use this site for medical co-pays. The VA directs those who need to make medical co-pays to do so via Pay.gov.

    You have the option to pay by mail. VA requests a separate check for each debt payment and you must send the payment stub included with the VA collection letter (you should get a different collection letter for each category of debt owed, where applicable).

    VA advises, “If you wish to send us one check for multiple debts, please enclose separate payment remittance stubs for each debt.”

    All checks should be made out to the Department of Veterans Affairs and mailed to:

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
    Debt Management Center
    P.O. Box 11930
    St. Paul, MN 55111

    Before You Pay

    In some cases, your debt may be satisfied by the VA adjusting the amount of your benefit each month until the debt is satisfied. It is very important to know if this is happening in your case, since any payments you make with an ACH withdrawal or debit card may be a duplicate payment. It’s best to contact the VA directly to discuss your case to avoid paying twice.

    The VA also advises this course of action for those who intend to pay an entire debt at once. Call the VA Debt Management Center to confirm the balance you owe the same way you would call your lender for a payoff amount for early fulfillment of a loan contract.

    Call the VA Debt Management Center at 1-800-827-0648 (for international callers 1-612-713-6415) to get the final payoff amount first.

    What To Do If You Cannot Pay

    The most important thing to do is to contact the VA before missing or skipping any payments. You may be able to negotiate a payment waiver (if you qualify to do so), a compromise, or modify an existing payment plan.

    Waiver requests for VA debt must be made in writing, explaining “why you feel you should not be held responsible for payment of the debt or why collection of the debt would be unfair and create a financial hardship,” according to the VA official site. You will need to complete and sign a Financial Status Report form and mail the letter and form to:

    US Department of Veterans Affairs
    Debt Management Center
    P.O. Box 11930
    St. Paul, MN 55111

    Did you know you have the right to ask for an oral hearing along with your waiver request? This option includes the ability to present evidence to support your request. You must ask for the hearing as part of your request.

    Make A Compromise Offer

    The VA permits those who owe money to the agency to make a compromise offer. Like the payment waiver option, you must contact the VA Debt Management Center to apply with the following required documentation:

    • A written letter explaining the circumstances that make it necessary to make a compromise offer
    • In the letter, explain the amount of money you wish to pay and how
    • Financial Status Report

    Mail these items to:

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
    Debt Management Center
    P.O. Box 11930
    St Paul, MN 55111
    1-612-970-5688 (fax)

    The Department of Veterans Affairs advises those offering a compromise NOT to send payment until they have been notified that the offer has been approved. It must first be reviewed by the VA Committee on Waivers and Compromises. You will be contacted once a decision is made; for approved compromises you are expected to pay the lump sum within 30 days of acceptance.

    Contact The VA Debt Management Center To Resolve Your Debt

    You can reach the VA Debt Management Center during normal business hours by calling 1-800-827-0648. International callers should call the VA Debt Management Center at  1-612-713-6415.

    You can also contact the VA Debt Management Center online via a submission form.


    About The AuthorJoe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News


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