VA concedes its debt collection systems leave veterans confused, frustrated
By: Leo Shane III
September 18, 2019
“The resultant debts owed by veterans often cause severe financial hardships for veterans and their families,” said Shane Liermann, deputy national legislative director for benefits at Disabled American Veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs sent out more than 600,000 debt collection notices to veterans and their families in fiscal 2018. (Sgt. Alicia R. Leaders/Marine Corps)Veterans Affairs officials acknowledged to lawmakers that the department’s debt collection practices remain “too clunky and too confusing” to ensure families aren’t left in financial jeopardy. And they promised additional reforms within the next year.
“We are too often fragmented, uncoordinated and highly variable in our processes,” said Jon Rychalski, chief financial officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, told members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday. “Frankly, we have a way to go before we can declare success.”
Last fiscal year, VA overpayments to veterans totaled roughly $1.6 billion, on par with mistakes in previous years.
The cases include mistakes in disability payouts after beneficiary information is updated, payments that conflict with other federal benefits like drill pay, changes in college enrollment that lower GI Bill eligibility, and simple math errors by department employees.
read it here