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Veteran Affairs Overpayment Rules

By Genevieve Babychz

Veterans benefits are rights and privileges awarded to those who have served the nation. Sometimes, for various reasons, veterans may receive an overpayment of benefits. Overpayments must be reported immediately and, if a veteran is found to have knowingly provided inaccurate information or knowingly kept an overpayment, it could result in the loss of VA benefits.

Overpayment of tuition benefits under the GI Bill is a common occurrence. This usually happens when a student drops a class after payment has been processed. When this happens the veteran should contact her local veterans affairs office immediately to inform them of the overpayment. Keeping the overpayment can result in interest and collection fees being added to the original overpayment, withholding of future benefits and/or the debt being sent to a collection agency. The VA can also garnish a veteran's wages, file suit in federal court or withhold approval on a VA home loan.

The VA will not pay benefits to an individual, or his family, if that person has felony warrants against him. A fugitive felon is anyone facing an arrest warrant for committing a felony or a crime that is punishable by one year in prison. Anyone convicted of a felony or of violating parole is also considered a fugitive felon. During the time a veteran remains a felon he may not receive benefits, even if he supports family members, and the VA will file a claim for overpayment of any benefits paid during this time. If a veteran has a warrant against him, he should notify the VA immediately to prevent overpayment of benefits. Veterans should also not file new claims for benefits while an outstanding warrant stands.

Overpayments to veterans receiving both Social Security and Special Veterans Benefits for a disability will often occur because the veteran failed to notify the VA when she returned to work, her medical condition changed or other household support became available but was not reported. In this case the veteran can file for a reconsideration, if she believes the overpayment claim was in error; file for a waiver, if the overpayment would be too burdensome or she feels the overpayment was not her fault or file for a repayment plan in monthly installments. When the overpayment occurs due to a delay in processing updated paperwork, the veteran should not cash the check. Instead she should contact her local veteran's advocate or Social Security office to determine how to repay it.


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