New VA Debt Collection Regulations: VA Overpayment and Offsets

[Music] welcome to veterans legal lowdown my name is elise phillips and i'm joined today with lisa iannelli we are attorneys for the law firm chisholm chisholm and kilpatrick today we're going to be explaining new regulations va must follow when reporting va debts to credit reporting agencies so just a little bit of a overview an over an overpayment is a debt va creates when it determines a veteran has paid more than what they're entitled to so in that case a veteran must return the money within 30 days of being notified by va if they do not va we will recoup or recover the debt from the veteran by withholding current or future disability payments an example of this is what is triggered when someone for example has a dependent status change such as a divorce and the veteran does not update the va with the necessary information they still receive money for the eligible dependent in that case there would be an overpayment and they would be expected to repay those funds some payments some veterans receive retired service pay and va disability compensation at the same time those are typically subject to government's double dipping laws stating that benefits cannot be duplicate duplicated so to comply with this law these veterans are required to offset part of their service retired pay um the amount of that a veteran receives in va compensation is subtracted from the amount that they would receive from retired pay so this resp this subtraction is referred to as a va waiver eligible military retirees may be able to recover some or all retired pay that retirees waive for the va pay through concurrent retirement and disability pay crpd is what is referred to or combat related special compensation compensation uh referred to as crcsc uh lisa why don't you talk a little bit about what brought on uh these new regulations so prior to january 5th 2021 the va debt management center reported an average of 5 000 delinquent veteran accounts monthly the dmc regularly receives complaints from veterans whose accounts have been reported to consumer reporting agencies common complaints from veterans include loss of security clearance inability to obtain approval for home loans or home financing and difficulty securing rental housing the new regulation acknowledges that debts stemming from a benefit administered by the va are different than consumer debts and they may be due to a variety of factors such as overpayments that are not the fault of the veteran the final rule amends va's regulation that governs the reporting of delinquent debts to consumer reporting agencies specifically the update changes the regulations to comply with the johnny isaacson and david p rowe md veterans health care and benefits improvement act of 2020 this act gives va secretary the authority to impose regulations that establish the minimum amount of a medical debt that will be reported to consumer reporting agencies the new rule went into effect on march 4th 2022 the change will establish the methodology for determining a minimum threshold for debts reported to consumer reporting agencies and exclude from the minimum threshold debts in which there is an indication of fraud misrepresentation or bad faith on the part of the debtor the intent of this change is to lessen the negative impact of consumer reporting agency reports on veterans thank you so much um so i'm just going to talk a little bit about understanding the methodology for determining minimum thresholds in these situations uh so as part of the regulation uh addition what we see is section 38 cfr 1.916 which basically provides methodology for establishing a minimum threshold as well as clarifying the threshold only applies to debts arising from benefits administered by the under secretary for benefits or the undersecretary for help so specifically va is only going to report debts that meet the following standards first the debt is classified as currently not collectible in this instance the debt is currently not collectible if a veteran va has exhausted available collection efforts including as appropriate referrals to administrative offset and enforced collection the second the debt is not owed by an individual who is determined by va to be catastrophically disabled or has reported to be a gross household income below the applicable geographical adjusted income limit that would entitle a va beneficiary to cost-free health care medications and or beneficiary travel and finally the outstanding debt is over 25 dollars such um or higher that va may be from the time uh in order to basically accord with one section 1.921 of that 38 cfr um lisa why don't you just reflect a little bit on how this is actually going to impact veterans so there's been commentary both in favor of and against these changes including arguments around the definition of catastrophically disabled and the referral of medical debts however by establishing a minimum threshold va aims to ultimately reduce the number of debts reported to consumer reporting agencies thereby decreasing the number of veterans negatively impacted by these reports elise any other thoughts on this i think that will just about wrap it up so thank you so much for joining us everyone for more information please check out our blog at thank you [Music] [Music] you

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