By Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho
Are you a veteran receiving benefits for non-service connected pension and Aid and Attendance? Has the VA made a demand to be paid back for overpayment to you?
What can you do?
The VA can forgive any debt if there was no indication of fraud, misrepresentation, or bad faith on the part of the claimant and recovery of the debt would be against equity and good conscience. [38 USC § 3502 and 38 CFR § 1.963(a)].
You can request that the debt be forgiven or ask that there be a “waiver of the debt”. The request must be in writing and received by the VA within 180 days of the VA’s decision. If you fail to request that the debt be forgiven within the deadline, the VA can garnish Social Security benefits, stop your VA benefits and garnish any tax return you may be receiving.
What is the bottom line? Pay attention to your mail. If you have been receiving VA benefits and you get a letter stating you have been overpaid, do something. Take action! If you don’t act in a timely fashion, you will be on the hook for the overpayment.