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Help Dependency Status Over payment / Reimbursement


Marcus 1970
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Question

Please Help!

I am an 80% disabled veteran. I recently (voluntarily) updated my dependent status to include a new wife and her (now our) two young children.

Here is the backstory to the problem (I'll try to keep it as short as possible). I was previously married for several years and my wife was listed on my compensation and I was being paid appropriately. I got divorced, and remarried one month later (long story, please don't judge or ask). When I remarried, I knew that I was now being underpaid, but I was doing OK financially and knew the VA would back-pay me for the underpayment when I finally got around to changing my dependency status (a little over three years later (time flies)).

To my horror, instead of receiving the expected nice, fat, reimbursement check, I received a letter from the VA saying that I owe THEM money (over $5000.00) in over-payment from the time of my divorce until now! 

The VA says "I needed to submit the dependency change within a year of when it happened". I didn't know this, nobody ever told me this, I was under the assumption that waiting to change the status was as good as putting money in the bank. The way I see it, the VA is compulsory in this mistake for not telling me / or teaching me. How can they expect us to follow rules we are unaware of, and that they don't inform us about?

I've contacted the VA and they have told me to "submit a Waiver Request for the repayment", and then request a Higher- Level Review.

The first part of my dilemma is to submit the "Waiver Request", I am required to fill out a "Financial Status Report Form". I do not see how letting the VA know how much my wife and I make (we do OK) could possibly have a positive impact on changing the decision and hopefully receiving the back-pay that I believe that I am entitled. They may look at it and say "they make good money, they can afford to repay the whole thing"! 

I should't be judged for this error based on me and my wife's current income.

I'm asking for money that I should have been receiving all along, and the VA is not only denying that request, they are taking money away from me!

Anybody with any common sense can look at this and see that what is happening here is unethical. 

I'm actually ashamed of the VA right now.

Somebody, please tell me what to do. 

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Unfortunately, "not being informed of a regulation" does not exempt us from complaince with it.  That is why there is hadit!!!!  We try to inform members of specific deadlines they must meet to win benefits.  A BIG one is failure to file a nod within a year.  

Im not ready to throw in the towel just yet, tho.  What did your VARO decision say?  Did it say you were being compensated for dependents or not?  

Also (and the VA wont tell you this!), did the VA send with your decision notice of your appeal rights?   In some circumstances the VA failure to notify Veterans of "his right to appeal" means the 1 year period is "tolled".  This means the one year period hasnt started until you recieve your notice of rights to appeal.  If you have good records, you may be able to find this out.  

I read a case where a Veteran argued he was not informed of his rights to appeal, so the one year period hadnt began.  The VA needs to attest they sent you the notice, and the VA cant attest they sent you notice 4 years ago..that had to be done 4 years ago...how would they know if your appeal rights have been sent 4 years ago? (unless it was documented then).  

But..look at the bigger picture here!!!!!

You may well be eligible for an increase, so you could get that backpay anyway!  

(Source:  I too have fought VA over dependent compensation)

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I think the VA is correct on this , since you took 3 years to change your marital dependent status?

 you quoted''The VA says "I needed to submit the dependency change within a year of when it happened". I didn't know this, nobody ever told me this, 

you knew it with your first wife?   I don't see how you can have a defence on this, its going to take an army of defence  or one hell of a good attorney to over come this 5.000.00 over payment you recieved.

and getting divorced and then remarry in  a month?  that don't help your defence team one bit.

you never filed for this new wife and her children for your dependents  and you have 1 year to do this.

  now its been 3 years and you were paid for your first wife as your dependent...I don't see how you will get out of this mess.

if you have to pay this 5.000.00 back you can request to make arrangements to have it took out of your compensation pay so much every month until this is paid.

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