Earlier this week, NVS attended a briefing from VA’s Debt Management Center (DMC) during which the DMC provided the following updates regarding VA debts:
The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (PL 117-2) authorized VHA medical copayments to be waived from April 6th, 2020, until September 30th, 2021. What this means is that any veteran who either paid or owes VHA medical copayments between April 6, 2020 and September 30, 2021 will not be responsible for those payments. Any veteran who paid VHA medical copayments during that timeframe will be refunded, however VA is still working out their process and hopes to have refunds sent out within the next 90 days.
Additionally, all collection actions on VA debts created after April 1, 2020 remain suspended through September 30, 2021. In order to inform veterans that collection efforts continue to be paused, the DMC has created a digital One VA Debt Relief Letter (see link at top). This letter informs veterans of the continued suspension of collections along with the VA’s plan to reimburse veterans who have already paid medical payments. This letter also explains that veterans are able to resolve their VA debts if they wish to do so but no action is required until after September 30, 2021. Once officially released, this letter will be posted to the VA’s website and social media pages.
Along with the digital One VA Debt Relief letter, the DMC is creating a new information letter that will be sent to veterans who owe debts to the VA. This new letter will be sent monthly and will include the amount of the current debt as well as provide options to resolve the debt while emphasizing that no action is required until after September 30, 2021. Please note that veterans who have more than one type of VA debt will receive a separate letter for each type of debt that they have incurred. The DMC intends to start sending these letters in April 2021.
In order to help veterans who are experiencing a mental health crisis, the DMC is working to provide information to VHA to match with veterans who are flagged as high risk in the VHA system. Providers will then be notified if a veteran has a VA debt so they can reach out to the veteran, and the VHA will put any medical copayment debt on hold and prevent any notices regarding the debt from being sent to the veteran. However, please be aware that all VHA notices are currently on hold due to the implementation of the American Rescue Plan.
Finally, the DMC reminded us that the debt portal for veterans went live in January 2021. This portal can be accessed by visiting https://www.va.gov/manage-va-debt/ and allows veterans the ability to view and address their VA debts. Please be aware that this portal currently only includes information about VBA debts. The DMC hopes to add information on VHA debts to the portal by June 2021.
For more information about VA’s Debt Management Center, please visit https://www.va.gov/debtman/ and if you have any questions about these updates please address them to the DSO helpdesk at DSOHelpdesk@vfw.org.