March 28, 2019

Veterans shouldn't have to shoulder VA errors: VA debt collection must be improved

By Kayla M. Williams

If your monthly income suddenly dropped by $1,500 — or even more — would you be able to weather the sudden change? For how long? For many Americans, a single unexpected financial hit like that would force them to borrow money or sell something; the prospect of seeing your monthly income suddenly and unexpectedly plummet for months — or even years to come — could be completely overwhelming. That is exactly what has happened to a significant number of veterans.

The Dept. of Veterans Affairs' Debt Management Center (shortened to “debtman” in their website’s URL, a naming convention that seems to bode ill for chances of a positive customer service experience) has sent out hundreds of thousands of notification letters in the past few years and collects over $1.6 annually.

To recoup overpayments, even those that occurred due to VA’s own accounting errors, the agency is currently allowed to withhold 100 percent of veterans’ monthly benefits until the full debt has been repaid, a disruption that can prove devastating.

Read the full article in The Hill.

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