What Should You Do if the VA Takes Your Benefits Away?
Imagine logging into your bank account one day to see that your monthly VA Disability Check hasn’t been deposited. You would likely feel anger, confusion, and, depending on your situation, fear because you may be dependent on that monthly check to survive. I know a lot of Veterans experience because I have received several calls just like this since I started working for a VA Disability Attorney. I want to share some knowledge about what to do in this situation. If you encounter this issue in the future you can be better prepared to handle it, and may be able to resolve the issue quicker.
First of all, don’t call me. Wait, that seems crass. Is the writer of this a jerk? Depending on whom you ask the answer to that question may be yes. However, let me explain why I am not the first person you want to call when your benefits are taken away. I will often receive calls from Vets who realized that they didn’t receive their benefits one day, and they aren’t being represented by our firm. I may act like I know it all sometimes, but if we’ve never worked on your case before, then I actually know less about what is going on with your case than the VA does. If you don’t have an attorney representing you for your VA disability then you should really make your first call to the VA. Yes, you will have to call the toll free number, and it will likely be a long wait, but they can tell you if there was an issue.
What if the VA says that they sent you the check like normal? The best course of action here is to contact your bank. I have seen several Veterans not receive payments on time because of an issue with the establishment in which they bank. I live in a somewhat rural area. We have banks that are associated with a major national chain, like Chase, but we also have banks that are small and independent. Regardless of the type of bank you have, they may not accept a large transaction from any institution without talking to you prior. We see this more often when it comes to a back pay transfer as they tend to be larger, but it happens occasionally when a monthly benefit check is received. It could even be as simple as a processing error. Often times a quick call to your bank will solve this issue.
What if it’s not your bank and the VA has informed you that they took you benefits away? In this case it is important to find out why. If there is an issue with an overpayment then you want to speak to the individuals who work in VA Debt Management. This may seem odd, and you may have to re-read this a few times, but I can honestly say that the people who work for VA Debt Management are very helpful. We've recommend a lot of Veterans to them over the years and they've been very pleased with the results. They will work with you to make a plan to recover any overpayment. You can reach VA Debt Management at 1-800-827-0648. Their website is very helpful too.
What if you don’t owe the VA money, but they are reducing your benefits because of an alleged change in your disability. This is when you want to call me. It is possible in this situation for us to keep your benefits from being reduced. This is dependent on a case by case evaluation. For instance, if you are service connected for a type of cancer, and it goes into remission, then a reduction in your benefits is correct according to the VA. However, there are other avenues to explore in a situation like this.
If you have found that your benefits have been reduced because of an alleged change in your disability, then give me a call for a free evaluation. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather I call at a later time, fill out this form, and I will call you at a more convenient time.