Another piece of legislation was recently introduced that claims it will help to shield veterans from financial harm caused by errors made by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA Overpayment Accountability Act (H.R. 4360) was introduced by Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ). The bill would address overpayments made to veterans by the agency which Kim says is due to the current method of processing dependency changes and communications errors between outdated IT systems.
The VA will often attempt to recover these overpayments by withholding veterans’ monthly benefit checks. Kim says this unfairly impacts roughly 1.4 million impoverished veterans nationwide.
The bill would ensure that veterans impacted by these errors could repair any damage to their credit scores and would require the VA to make improvements to systems proven to cause the overpayments.
It would also require an audit of overpayments made by the agency as well as require the VA to submit a plan of correcting the systems problems to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and House.
“We should be honoring our veterans, not sending debt collectors after them because the VA’s systems have failed,” said Kim.
“I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill because our veterans are living paycheck-to-paycheck and they deserve a VA that works for them. After their sacrifice and what they’ve given to our country, holding the VA accountable for overpayments and protecting our veterans is the least we can do to say thank you.”
Other Bills Targeting VA Overpayments
This is not the first such bill that has been introduced to address overpayment problems within the VA. In 2018, the Veteran Debt Fairness Act (H.R. 7144) was introduced by Congressman John Delaney (D-MD). His bill would require an audit of the overpayments as well as set up a system so veterans could dispute debts.
Earlier this year, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Veterans Debt Fairness Act (S. 805) which would require the VA to shoulder the debt burden of overpayments if the agency was responsible for the mistakes leading to the overpayments.