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VA debt management

Get answers to common questions about managing debt related to VA disability compensation, non-service-connected pension, and education benefits. Learn why you may owe us money and how to check your balance. And find out how to repay your debt now or request help with payments.

Understand your VA debt

You could owe us money for different reasons. These are 2 of the most common reasons:

Copayments. You received care at a VA health facility and you're in a priority group that requires you to pay copayments.

Learn more about VA copay rates

Benefit overpayments. We paid you, or your school, more than you were eligible to receive for a VA benefit payment. We often refer to this type of debt as an overpayment.

An overpayment can happen for any of these reasons:

  • If you don’t report a life change that affects your eligibility, or
  • If you report a change, but we can't update your benefit amount before your next payment, or
  • Because of an error, like a double payment

If you have questions about why you owe us money, call the related VA benefit or health care office. 

Find helpful VA phone numbers

If you're a Veteran or service member, you can check your VA debt balance online for these benefits:

  • VA disability compensation
  • VA non-service-connected pension
  • GI Bill or other VA education benefits

You'll need a DS LogonMy HealtheVet, or ID.me account to sign in. If you don't have any of these accounts, you can create one now.

Manage your VA debt online

Note: At this time, spouses and dependents of Veterans or service members can’t check the status of their VA debt online.

You can also check your VA debt balance by phone:

  • For VA benefit debts, call our Debt Management Center at 800-827-0648 (or 1-612-713-6415 from overseas). We’re here Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.  
  • For VA health care copay debt, call our Health Resource Center at 866-400-1238 or 800-698-2411. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. 
  • If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 711

If you get a debt collection letter from our Debt Management Center and you think there's an error, contact us right away. When you contact us within the time limit listed in your first debt letter, you can avoid collection actions.

Send us a letter to dispute the debt in 1 of 2 ways:

Tell us why you think your debt is an error and provide any supporting information.

If you disagree with the VA decision that resulted in this debt, you can appeal the decision. Learn more about the VA appeals process

If you have questions about the cause of your debt, call your VA benefit office. Find helpful VA phone numbers

If you have questions about debt collection, call our Debt Management Center at 800-827-0648 (1-612-713-6415 from overseas) (TTY: 711), Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.

Note: Find out how to dispute your VA copay charges

Here are 2 ways to avoid VA benefit debt:

If you get GI Bill or other VA education benefits, you can also take these steps to avoid debt:

  • Contact your School Certifying Official (SCO) each semester. Make sure your certification matches your class schedule.
  • Visit your school's financial office often to review your account. Make sure all charges and payments are correct.
  • If you withdraw from a class, leave school, or make other changes to your schedule, tell us and your SCO right away.
    Report changes through our GI Bill "Ask a Question" form

You need to report any life changes that may affect your eligibility for VA benefits. These include:

  • A change in active-duty status
  • An increase in your or your spouse’s income or net worth
  • A divorce or the death of a spouse
  • A change in a dependent's eligibility status (like a school-age child who gets married or leaves school)
  • A change in school schedule (like if you withdraw from a class or leave school)
  • A change in program attendance (like if you drop out of the Veteran Readiness and Employment program without an accepted reason after we purchased a service or tool for you)
  • A jail sentence

If you have questions, call your VA benefit office. 

Find helpful VA phone numbers

Repay or request help with VA benefit debt

You can repay debt related to VA disability compensation, non-service-connected pension, or education benefits in any of these 3 ways:

  • Pay online. Pay each debt separately by credit card or ACH direct debit. If you want to pay your full debt balance or if you get monthly VA benefit payments, call us first. We’ll confirm your balance so you don’t overpay.
  • Pay by phone. Call us at 800-827-0648 (1-612-713-6415 from overseas) (TTY: 711). We're here Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. 
  • Pay by mail. Send a separate check or money order for each debt, payable to “U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.” On each, print your full name, VA file number or Social Security number, and deduction code. Include your payment stubs or a note with the amount you're paying on each debt.

    Mail to:
    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
    Debt Management Center
    PO Box 11930
    St. Paul, MN 55111

Need to pay VA health care copay charges?
Find out how to pay your copay bill

Contact us within the time limit listed in your first debt letter. We’ll help you understand your repayment or relief options. When you request help within the time limit, you can avoid late fees, interest, or other collection actions.

If you get monthly VA benefit payments, we'll keep all or part of your payments unless we approve another repayment or relief option.

If we referred your debt to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, call the number on your letter right away. 

We offer 4 repayment or relief options for benefit-related VA debt:

  • Monthly offsets. If you get VA benefit payments, we may keep (or “offset”) part or all of each payment to pay down your debt. This is how we'll collect your debt unless we approve another option.
  • Repayment plan. If you can’t pay your full debt balance now, you can ask to make smaller monthly payments.
  • Compromise offer. If you don’t get monthly benefit payments and can’t pay monthly, you can offer a lesser one-time lump sum amount as full payment. If we accept your request, you'll have to pay the one-time amount within 30 days.
  • Waiver. If even smaller monthly offsets or payments would cause you financial hardship, you can ask us to forgive (or “waive”) part or all of a debt.  If we accept your request, you won't have to pay the amount waived.
    Learn more about waivers

Need help with VA copay debt?
Learn about financial hardship assistance

Yes. You can request a repayment plan to repay a VA debt in smaller amounts each month over a period of time. 

Ask to make payments in 1 of these 2 ways:

  • Monthly offsets. We’ll keep part or all of your VA benefit payments each month to pay down your debt.
  • Monthly payments. You’ll pay us directly each month. You can pay online, by phone, or by mail.

To request a plan, you'll need to submit these 2 items:

  • A Financial Status Report (VA Form 5655). If you request a plan that repays your full debt balance within 5 years, you don't need to submit this form at this time.
  • Your first month's payment, if you want to pay directly

You can also include a personal statement. You can tell us about why it's hard for you to repay the full debt balance now and how much you want to pay each month.

You may be able to request a plan for some types of VA debt online.
Request help with VA debt payments 

Note: This information doesn't apply to VA copay debt.

You can request 1 of these 2 debt relief options:

  • Compromise offer. This means you offer a lesser one-time lump sum amount as full payment of the debt. If we accept your request, you'll have to pay the one-time amount within 30 days.
  • Waiver. This means you ask us to forgive (or “waive”) part or all of the debt. If we accept your request, you won't have to pay the amount waived.
    Learn more about waivers

To request either of these options, you'll need to send us these 2 items:

  • A Financial Status Report (VA Form 5655)
  • A personal statement that explains why you feel you shouldn't have to repay the debt. For a compromise offer, include how much you're offering to pay. Don't send payment with your offer. For a waiver, tell us if you want an oral hearing. 

Request help with VA debt

Need help with VA copays? Learn about financial hardship assistance

We'll review your request.

If you request a waiver and ask for an oral hearing, we'll schedule your hearing. We'll send you a letter with the date, time, and location of the hearing.

After we make a decision, we'll send you this information by mail:

•    Our decision on your request
•    Any payments you may need to make, and how to make them
•    How to appeal our decision if you disagree

If you need to make any payments, be sure to pay on time. 

If you lose your job or have other changes that affect your finances after you submit your request:

You’ll need to submit a new request to report the changes to us. We’ll consider the changes when we make our decision on your request.

Understand debt collection actions

If you get a letter from our Debt Management Center:

Contact us about payment options. Be sure to contact us within the time limit listed in your first debt letter. This will help you avoid more collection actions.

Call us at 800-827-0648 (or 1-612-713-6415 from overseas) (TTY: 711). We’re here
Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. Or contact us online.

Use our online question form

If you get a call or letter from the U.S. Department of the Treasury or a private collection company:

Call the company or ask the caller about payment options. Contact them right away to avoid having more fees added to your debt.

If we've only referred your debt to the Treasury Offset Program and not the Cross-Servicing Program (CS), we may be able to accept your payments at VA.

If your debt is with the CS program or with a private collection company, don’t send us a payment. This will delay an update to your account. The U.S. Treasury or the private company may keep adding fees and interest.

You'll need to pay the full debt amount or request help within the time limit listed in your first debt letter.

If you don't pay or request help within the time limit, we may take these actions:

  • Collect your debt from your VA benefits. This may include keeping part or all of your monthly VA benefit payments to pay down your debt (called offsetting).
  • Notify federal and private credit reporting agencies. This may cause your credit score to drop and affect your ability to get future loans.
  • Add interest to the amount you owe (for certain debts)

After 120 days, we'll refer your debt to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The U.S. Treasury may take these actions:

  • Add more fees and interest 
  • Keep part or all of your federal or state payments to pay down your debt. This may include your tax refunds, Social Security benefits, or federal or state salary or retirement benefits.
  • Refer your account to a private collection agency 

Request help with VA debt payments

The U.S. Treasury may take one or more of these actions to try to collect on your debt:

  • Add fees and interest to your debt
  • Keep part or all of your federal or state payments to pay down your debt. This is called an offset.
  • Refer your account to a private collection agency

If the U.S. Treasury offsets your payments, this could cause you to get a lower amount for one or more of these payments:

  • Tax refunds
  • Social Security benefits
  • Salary from a federal or state job
  • Federal or state retirement benefits

Go to the U.S. Treasury website to learn more about debt collection

By law, we must refer delinquent debt to the U.S. Treasury.

If you don't make other arrangements to repay your debt, the U.S. Treasury may keep (or offset) any eligible federal benefit payments you receive to pay down the debt. This may include your  Social Security benefits.

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Related information

VA benefits

  • Disability

    File a claim for disability compensation for conditions related to your military service, and manage your benefits over time.

  • Education and training

    Apply for and manage your GI Bill and other education benefits to help pay for college and training programs.

  • Pension

    Apply for monthly payments for wartime Veterans and survivors with limited or no income who meet certain age and disability requirements.

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