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Overpayment due to VA oversight and waiver


FedUpVeteran

Question

I was approved permanent and total back in April of 2014.  I didn't receive the notice until the end of July.  My children were approved chapter 35 benefits which they retroactively paid to my daughter dating back to April 2014.  She requested they start her benefits in August 2014 but they still paid back to April regardless of her request.  Prior to that I received benefits for her since she was in college and I was at 100%.  I was told she would immediately be dropped from my benefits since she would be receiving chapter 35 benefits.  I also sent in a request to remove her from my benefits at the same time.  The VA has taken their sweet time removing her and processing the request.  I received a letter yesterday stating that an inquiry was done on my account and they discovered I was being paid for her at the same time she is receiving chapter 35.  Since April of 2014 I have contacted he VA on numerous occasions to see if they had processed the request to remove her and each time was told they typically take up to 6 months.  As of this month it has been 18 months since I sent in the request.  My family has had several hardships since then and we rely heavily on my disability to pay our bills.  My husband has a decent income but his contract is up with his job and he will be let go sometime between now and the end of the year and to boot he has injured his neck.  His income mostly covers his child support and IRS payments at the moment along with money for food and medical.  My income covers the bulk of our bills.  In addition my daughters car (the college student) threw a rod and then the car we purchased so she could continue school was totaled last week when she hit a tree.  Now she is using my car until we can afford to regroup and get her another car.  Could I possibly get a waiver due to the VA not processing the request to remove my daughter and me advising them that I was being overpaid and them paying her for additional months of school despite her asking to not start her pay until August 2014?  Does anyone have a sample hardship letter?  Please help!  I am desperate to find a solution and can't afford to lose my entire check much less a portion at the moment!  TIA!

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FedUpVeteran, I am by no means an expert, but I would definitely contact your local congressman's office and explain the situation to them.  They will be able to, at the very least, get the request for waiver due to hardship form to you or advise you where to get it. I would also call the 1-800-827-1000 number, and request the form if you have not done so already. But definitely contact your congressman and/or senators office.  I wish you and your family the best of luck, please keep us updated and God Bless you and your family.

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Send in your proof and ask for a waiver. It is their error. They did not do their job. Also write your congress rep or go to the field office and show them the proof you asked them to remove the student.

Why should a veteran be penalized for the VA not doing their job. Sounds like the idiot who didn't do their job is trying to cover their ass.

 

J

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Have you seen this web site and tried these opinions?

http://www.va.gov/debtman/Submit_A_Waiver_Request.asp

When submitting a written letter make sure you inform the VA that you filed a timely correction and fill out the financial status report. The letter can be a simple letter and you do not need a specific form but you will need the financial status form.

http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA5655.pdf

Be open and honest with them but don't blame them or tell them it was their fault.

Edited by pete992
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Thanks for the input and advice.  I have to decide how to respond and hopefully I will by tomorrow.  I still have to look for my paperwork to prove I asked for my daughter to be taken off.  They did put a "note" on the letter saying I had asked to remove her.  So I guess to a certain extent they are trying to pin the blame for overpayment on me.  I do have a few questions
1- would this fall under  CUE?  If so how do I file my response under that?

2- Is simply stating the facts considered blaming them or is it a bad idea?  Such as " I asked on <date> to remove my daughter from my pay and have inquired several times as to why she hadn't been removed?"

Has anyone else ran into similar problems as this and what was your outcome?

 

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Blame doesn't matter.  Technically, it's an overpayment that you are now being asked to pay back.  Yeah, they probably expected you to set aside the difference in the expectation that they'd come back looking for it someday.  You need something now that's only theirs to give, a waiver.  Personally, I would stay away from mentioning CUE and try to keep this simple.  

Write a waiver request letter, stating that you are total and permanent disabled, that you had made several attempts to do the right thing removing your child from dependant status, that you had financial emergencies in the past, and that this would create a hardship for your entire family by having your comp reduced to repay the overpayment.  I don't believe this is a CUE, but would stress the point that this would be a financial catastrophe for your entire family, and be polite and maybe perhaps throw in an apology for the situation, even though it's not your fault.  I wouldn't escalate it with a Congressional rep unless you were denied.  If that happens, you file a Notice of Disagreement and treat it like a claims denial, THEN copy your Congressional rep.  

More info here:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/overpayments-veterans-benefits-paying-them-back-the-va.html

 

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I did send in a letter requesting a waiver.  The VA hasn't responded at this point.  I then received the statement showing how much I owe and forms to fill out to set up payments.  I am trying now to find out If they received my letter.  I sent it via fax and certified letter.  The certified letter wasn't signed for but had a stamp from processing on it.  I was also told by someone to call our governor's office about the situation.  I find it ironic that it takes them so long to remove a child from benefits.  Also, they were supposed to be adding my step son at the same time that they removed my daughter.  That has never been done either.  That would cover some of the overpayment for my daughter but nowhere near enough of it.  I hate dealing with them.  They are so inconsiderate to people's situations.  Hopefully they honor the waiver. 

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I finally got in contact with someone at the regional office.  They did receive a copy of the waiver request letter.  For some reason it was not sent to the debt management center.  She informed me that I should send another copy to them along with form 5655.  They are acting oblivious about the request that had been sent in to add my step son. 

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Send another letter to the debt managament center, who will render a decision on the debt waiver.  

DO NOT COUNT ON VARO sending Debt management the request.  You may be disappointed.  

I did exactly that, about 7 years ago, and was granted the waiver.  

These are the main issues your waiver request should address:

1.  That you properly reported said change, promptly,  and VA did not complete it timely, which resulted in the overpayment.  The VA backlog is not your fault.  When you get money deposited to your account, you "reasonably believed" it to be accurate and the money is yours so you spent it.  

2.  That paying back the money would create a hardship.  

3.  Do it exactly as the website, below, requests, and send it to Debt management center.  

http://www.va.gov/debtman/Submit_A_Waiver_Request.asp

Edited by broncovet
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Broncovet how much does your weekly pay effect the waiver?  My husband has been out of work almost 4 weeks total since December.  He just returned to work last week but it is a contract position.  He could be out of work again next week.  He is applying for positions but hasn't had any offers close enough to home for the pay to be worth it.  Our monthly expenses are high but we have also had numerous setbacks as well as a hefty IRS bill that he is paying along with back child support due to previous unemployment.  Honestly this stresses me to the max!  PTSD and these issues don't mix well.  Also, my 21 year old had to drop out of college because of transportation issues and is looking for work but in the meantime we are helping her keep her car insurance up which is 500+  a month.  If we don't we will be forced to put her on our car insurance.  We definitely don't want that to happen.  I paid 815$ yesterday for her because she would cancel on the 18th if she didn't pay at least that.  We are having to let some bills be late or not paid just to accomplish that and due to my husband not receiving his first check yet.  I made it very clear in the letter I previously sent that we did everything in our power to save the overages but had numerous expensive setbacks.  I did also state that I had requested almost 2 years ago that she be removed.  Hopefully that will all play into them granting a waiver.    I just loathe dealing with them! 

 

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There is only one way to find out...apply for the debt waiver.  I think there is a form and an address on the link.  

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Okay, I know that this is a very hard time right now but look at the VA form 5655 again. It is very detailed and they get down right in your business but if you take the time to properly fill this form out, it will help you in the long run.  Make sure you include all the expenses along with all your income including your husband income and child support and his IRS bill. As for your daughter have her go to financial aid at her school and apply for the Pell Grant and any and all financial aid that is possible (remember she is investing in herself). Also her school may be able to place her in a position.  As for your husband income if he is not working than he is not working and you can't put anything down but $0.00.  I have been where you are and VA has granted my request for a waiver but you have to play their games and meet their timelines. Try not to put so much on your plate, you can get lower insurance or try USAA they seem to be good for veterans and their families.

Just trying to help

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