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VA COVID-19 debt relief options for Veterans and dependents

To help with financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, we paused collection on all new VA benefit debt created between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021. We also offered a pause on collection for debts created before April 6, 2020, as well as repayment plans.

As of October 1, 2021, we’re starting to send debt notification letters again. We’ll send these letters over the next several months. We continue to offer debt repayment and relief options. Read this page to find out what to expect and get answers to questions you may have.

How this change may affect you

Here’s what you can expect over the next several months, based on your specific situation.

    We automatically paused collection on this debt through September 30, 2021.

    As of October 1, 2021, we’re starting to send debt notification letters again over a period of several months. Your debt notification letter will explain how much you owe (called your debt balance), your repayment or relief options, and when you need to take action.

    Since we’re sending debt notification letters over several months, you may not receive yours right away. During this time, we may send you informational letters to keep you updated on your debt balance. Informational letters will state that no action is required.

    You don’t have to do anything until you receive your debt notification letter. But if you choose, you can still repay your debt in full or request help now.

    Note: If you have more than one VA benefit debt, you’ll receive a separate notification letter for each debt.

    If we didn’t already refer your debt to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, we’ll send you another debt notification letter. We’ll send this to make sure you have time to contact us before we restart collection on your debt.

    If you requested that we temporarily stop your repayment plan, we won’t automatically restart collection on October 1, 2021. Because we use a standard format for debt notification letters, you may get a new letter that looks like a previous letter, except with new dates.

    Your debt notification letter will explain how much you owe (called your debt balance), your repayment or relief options, and when you need to take action.

    Since we’re sending debt notification letters over several months, you may not receive yours right away. During this time, we may send you informational letters to keep you updated on your debt balance. Informational letters will state that no action is required.

    You don’t have to do anything until you receive your debt notification letter. But if you choose, you can still repay your debt in full or request help now.

    Note: If you have more than one VA benefit debt, you’ll receive a separate notification letter for each debt.

            Your current payment arrangement will continue unless these 2 factors are true for you:

            • The amount that you owe (called your debt balance) increased between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021, and
            • You didn’t update your repayment plan after the increase

            If your debt increased during this time, we’ll send you a debt notification letter. We’re starting to send these letters over a period of several months beginning October 1, 2021. Your debt notification letter will explain how much you owe (called your debt balance), your repayment or relief options, and when you need to take action. You may need to contact us to update your payment arrangement.

            Since we’re sending debt notification letters over several months, you may not receive yours right away. During this time, we may send you informational letters to keep you updated on your debt balance. Informational letters will state that no action is required.

            You don’t have to do anything until you receive your debt notification letter. But if you choose, you can still repay your debt in full or request help now.

            Note: If you have more than one VA benefit debt, you’ll receive a separate notification letter for each debt.

            You should receive your debt notification letter 30 days after your VA regional office creates the debt. The letter will come from our VA Debt Management Center.

            Your debt notification letter will explain how much you owe (called your debt balance), your repayment or relief options, and when you need to take action. If you have more than one VA benefit debt, you’ll receive a separate notification letter for each debt.

            The TOP program will start debt collection again in October 2021. TOP will send you a notification letter to tell you when recurring offsets will begin or start again. An offset means that TOP will keep part or all of your federal or state payments or benefits to collect on the debt.

            Note: If your debt has been referred only to TOP and not to the Treasury Department's Cross-Servicing Program (CS), we may be able to accept your payments at VA.

            The CS Program will start debt collection again in October 2021. 

            If you have an existing payment arrangement with this program, that arrangement will automatically continue. If you want to change your arrangement, call the CS Program call center at 888-826-3127. Agents are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.

            If you have hearing loss, call 800-877-8339 to reach a communications assistant.


            Questions you may have

            If your debt was created between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021

            Our Debt Management Center will send you a debt notification letter. We’re sending these letters over a period of several months, starting October 1, 2021. So, you may not receive yours right away.

            During this time, we may send you informational letters to keep you updated on your debt balance. Informational letters will state that no action is required. You don’t have to do anything until you receive your debt notification letter. But if you choose, you can still repay your debt in full or request help now.

            If your debt is created on or after October 1, 2021

            You should receive your debt notification letter from our VA Debt Management Center 30 days after your VA regional office creates the debt.

             COVID-19 debt relief options for VA benefit debts include:

              • Repayment plan. You can request a repayment plan. This will allow you to repay the debt in smaller monthly amounts over time.
              • Compromise offer. If you don’t think you can repay the full debt even over time, you can request a compromise offer. This means you offer a lesser one-time lump sum amount as full payment of the debt. If we accept your offer, you’ll have to pay the one-time amount within 30 days.
              • Waiver. If you don’t think you can repay the debt, you can request a debt waiver. This means you ask us to forgive (or “waive”) all or part of the debt. If we accept your request, you won’t have to pay the amount waived. 
              • Temporary hardship suspension. If you need financial relief after a natural disaster or other situation, you can ask us to temporarily pause debt collection.

              Contact our VA Debt Management Center. We can help you set up a repayment plan or adjust your current repayment plan. We’ll work with you to develop a plan that works for your situation.

              Contact our VA Debt Management Center. We’ll help you set up a plan that works for your situation.

              Contact our Health Resource Center at 866-400-1238. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

              If you have hearing loss and need help to make a TTY call, call TTY: 711.

              Call our VA benefits hotline at 800-827-1000. Ask the representative to connect you with your regional office. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. We’ll work with you to discuss your options.

              If you have hearing loss and need help to make a TTY call, call TTY: 711.

              How to contact our VA Debt Management Center

              You can contact us in any of these 3 ways:

              U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
              Debt Management Center
              P.O. Box 11930
              St. Paul, MN 55111

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