Paycheck Chronicles

VA Suspends Debt Collections for Furloughed Feds

Note with words debt relief on a table.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that furloughed federal employees and their family members who have debts with the VA may be eligible for a temporary suspension of collection activity.

Veterans who have a debt to the VA based on a benefit overpayment, such as compensation or GI Bill benefits, can request that the department automatically suspend collections for up to 90 days.

The VA's Debt Management Center (DMC) says that veterans who are furloughed federal employees, or a family member of a furloughed federal employee, can request a suspension of collection activity on their debts until April 1. To receive the suspension, veterans must submit a completed VA Form 5655 (Financial Status Report) via mail, fax or electronically.

Veterans should indicate in block 36 of the form that they are a furloughed federal employee or family member. No proof is required.

Veterans with medical debts can also request a suspension of collection actions; however, VA medical debts are usually much smaller, and collection actions on them usually don't begin until they are delinquent for at least 180 days. Requests for suspension of medical debts will be considered on a case-by-case basis, according to the DMC.

For more information, you can visit the Debt Management Center website or call 800-827-0648.

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