What Happens if I Owe the VA Money?

So, you owe the government money…specifically the Veterans Administration.

Many times, people receive letters from the VA stating that they owe the VA money or that at some point in time they were overpaid and now they have to pay the money back to the VA.  An overpayment is money you receive that is not rightfully owed to you.  Let me explain why this may occur and how it can be handled.

First of all, you must report an overpayment immediately.  Overpayments may occur due to an error at the VA.  They simply may have overpaid you or forgot to change your status from married to single, for example.  However, if you intentionally give false information to the VA or do not report changes, this can lead to overpayments and also a termination of benefits.

If you are receiving VA compensation or pension benefits and a felony warrant is issued for your arrest or you are arrested, you are not eligible to receive your monetary benefits.  If a warrant is filed against you, it is your responsibility to notify the VA immediately so you are not overpaid.  If you continue to receive this money while the warrant is out or you are in prison, you will need to repay the money to the VA.

If you were once married and received money for your spouse and you become divorced, you must report this to the VA so you are no longer paid for your spouse.  This also includes if you were being paid for step-children, you become divorced and the children no longer live with you.

You may receive an overpayment for education benefits.  You may also have an overpayment if you default on a home loan.

The VA can collect these overpayments in various ways.  They may take a lump sum of money or they may withhold an entire month’s payment.  If you feel it would be impossible for you to live without your month’s payment, you are able to file a waiver and ask the VA to take out smaller payments until the full amount is repaid.

The VA may withhold future benefits or send this to a collection agency.  The VA can also garnish wages or file a suit in federal court.  They are also able to withhold approval on a VA home loan.  If you receive Social Security benefits, the VA may withhold these as well.

The bottom line with payments: make sure you report any and all changes to the VA when it comes to your dependents and your income.  If your payments change and you have questions, call the VA immediately.  You don’t want to risk having to pay the VA money.  And remember, if it does occur that you have to pay the VA, they are willing to make payment arrangements if needed. They will recoup their money one way or another.

If you need assistance or have questions, please feel free to call Jan Dils Attorneys at Law. We have the people, knowledge, and resources to help you get the benefits you deserve.

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