The Department Of Veterans Affairs announced in a New Year’s news dump on Wednesday, that they would be restarting it’s collections process and start sending financial notices to veterans again this month.
These “overpayments” occur when changes to personal information isn’t processed in time, and a vet receives credit or compensation by error for their benefits.
While few would argue that these debts have to be paid, and that all attempts to ensure the changes to information must be made to avoid these errors, this announcement comes at a moment when the VA themselves can’t deliver properly on many of their own services.
Their debt to us is far greater. And there isn’t a collections process for the countless claims that have yet gone unanswered from them to our bravest brothers and sisters.
They canceled 7.3 million appointments when the COVID 19 pandemic began last year (story HERE). Many veterans have had to find help elsewhere or simply deal with their conditions because they can’t get seen at many of their facilities.
But they’re coming for their money nonetheless. Whether you can get care or not. And while they’re undergoing a massive records overhaul which presents it’s own information risks.
The restart also doesn’t take into consideration overpayments in the realm of education, where many students saw their classes cancelled or postponed. What about transparency regarding whether veterans will still have access to those funds?
Finally, we also have many veterans feeling the economic crunch that almost all other Americans are enduring at the moment. There was job uncertainty that lead to a historic surge in unemployment, and many vets will also be waiting for their stimulus checks to simply make ends meet.
It is a poor decision by the VA to restart these collections when there is so much going wrong at the moment.
The proper decision would have been to restart these notices when the VA is able to resume it’s operations to a fair degree later in the year.