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Extension for Debt Hardship Relief Period


Last updated 9/27/2022 at 1:58pm | View PDF

If you owe benefit debts to the Department of Veterans Affairs, your hardship relief period, previously set to expire on Sept. 30, has been extended to Dec. 31.

Those types of debts can include those for education, disability compensation and non-service pension, and you might have been approved for either a waiver, a compromise or an extended repayment plan, as well as the hardship suspension of debt.

These debts impact half a million veterans and sometimes can be the result of a clerical error, the veteran not being able to understand the paperwork or a letter being lost in the mail. Worse is when the error occurred when the veteran didn't see the fine print and suddenly started receiving collection bills for debts he didn't know he owed.

By now you might have received a letter from the VA, if you have been making payments. Don't be afraid to open that letter. It's likely extension information for you. Consider using it to apply for a hardship extension that will carry you to the end of the year.

If you ever received an overpayment and were told you have to pay it back, give them a call at 800-827-0648. If the money you owe results from either a pharmacy co-payment or medical care debt, instead call 866-400-1238 and talk to them.

Get to the bottom of the actual source of the debt. Did a clerk make a mistake? Did you fail to verify dependents or write in a wrong number? Do you have the canceled checks to show that you actually paid? Find out what's wrong.

The VA has taken a number of steps over the years to help veterans saddled with VA-related debt. They canceled co-pays from April 2020 to September 2021. They changed the income to qualify for relief. They took away the Financial Status Report for hardship eligibility. And, a big deal: They cut nearly all the reports to credit agencies for medical debt. That can have a big impact on your future credit score.

(c) 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.


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