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FMP reimbursement question

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Scottish_Knight

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Good morning all, am unsure if this forum is the right place to ask this, but will give it a go.  I've googled FMP forum and there are none.

I've attempted to ring the FMP several times this week..... Tues, Wed & Thursday.  Each time, after 45 minutes of waiting in the queue listening to 1940s big band swing music, I gave in.  The FMP have two phone numbers and I've tried them both.

Last year I submitted a claim to the FMP and was reimbursed by cheque from the US Treasury.  Not an absolute show-stopper,  but a right pain.  Cheques have become a thing of the past in Germany and banks are loathed to take them.  They will, but they are held for about 10 days and I pay a fee for this.

The form for the FMP claim is VA Form 10-7959f-2.  There is nothing on the form regarding reimbursement options, i.e., direct deposit or cheque.  I did find it odd that although my monthly disability pay is directly deposited into a US bank (won't / can't deposit overseas, although DFAS can) account that I maintain, I was sent a cheque.

Does anyone know of a means to have FMP claim reimbursement done by direct deposit?

Thanks in advance.

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My travel pay is deposited directly to my account, along with compensation.   But, other reimbursements were sent by check.  

It would not hurt to fill out that form, and see where it goes.  

YOu can also set up/change direct deposit on your ebenefits/va.gov "premium" account.  

In order for me to get a "premium" ebenefits account, I had to verify my identity IN PERSON at my VAMC.  Others have indicated an in person verification is no longer required, but I cant say.  

I do know its critical your account/internet security.  The last thing you want is your VA check sent to hackers.  

The VA, and most other government agencies wants, or even requires, us to use direct deposit.  Why?  Well it saves money vs a paper check.  Yea, its only a buck or so, but multiply that time 28,000,000 Veterans, and it becomes a big deal quickly.  

My advice is to first set it up online via ebenefits/va.gov BUT TRIPLE check the numbers are right.   Then have your wife check it again before submitting.   Auto payments set up with an incorrect account number could result in serious delays of getting checks, or even loss of them al together.  

To add:  You may consider using a USAA checking account, which is one used for military, including overseas.  They may be able to answer your questions better.  

Finally, at least one well known bank, allows you to deposit a check with an app on your phone by taking a picture of it using the app.  I have done it.  That way, its almost unnecessary to ever go to the bank if you have an atm card for cash.  

I think USAA, does not charge foreign transaction charges, like some do.  But talk to them, as Im not current on that.  You can open up a USAA account online, unless that has changed.  

Edited by broncovet
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Response from the FMP.... only took 9 days to answer.  While not what I was hoping for, at least it's a response from the normally unresponsive.

'Hello,

I'm afraid our program is only able to make payment by treasury check, 
we do not have a direct deposit option at this time, nor do we believe that
capability will be added in the near future.

Thank you,
XXXXXXX
VA Foreign Medical Program'
Edited by Scottish_Knight
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My son, when he and his wife were stationed overseas explained you can get hookwinked on the conversion from dollars to (pounds).  So, he used his USAA account, and found that, for Veterans, changing from one currency to another was not a profit center for them.  He estimated switching to USAA to convert currency saved him more more than $300 per month.  

When I visited him, I came prepared with a USAA account, and used THAT debit card overseas so that I was likewise, not hoodwinked in the conversion.  You can put the USAA debit card in, and out comes Pounds or other local currency which is converted at a very reasonable rate.  

Its pretty easy to see if you are hoodwinked, and by how much.  Here's what to do. 

Ask them what the conversion from pounds to dollars, and from dollars to pounds.  

Example:  Right now, google lists 1.21 pounds per dollar.  If they want to give you 1.14 pounds per dollar, they are keeping 7 cents (7%) of your money.  Then take your 1.14 pounds and convert it back to dollars.  

In this example, google shows $1USD would be worth .83 pounds.  If they offer .75 pounds per dollar, then you are paying the difference.  In this case you are paying 7 cents to convert it to pounds and 8 cents to convert it to dollars or 15 percent.  

That is like a 15 percent "bump" in prices.  Its a lot.  USAA does it for 1 or 2 percent or so.  Much less.  

When you buy something, they often accept dollars, but, again hornswaggle you on the exchange, so better is to change it at USAA, then spend the native currency. 

If you were 100 percent, married, with SMC S and K, then your $4368 VA check becomes $4062, after this examples conversion.  In other words, you are "making a $306 car payment" and not getting the car.  Bad deal.  Be watchful on those conversions.  

Edited by broncovet
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