The Department of Veterans Affairs has suspended debt collections related to overpayments of pensions to low-income veterans or their survivors after the agency found it had mistakenly paid too much, in some cases, over a period of many years, department officials announced Friday.
The VA provides pensions to some veterans or survivors based on self-reported income that is later verified by the department, using data reported from outside sources such as the Social Security Administration and other federal agencies.
But between 2011 and 2022, as a result of errors in comparison data, VA officials were unable to “reliably verify” the self-reported income of these pensioners. When verification resumed in July 2022, nearly 10,000 beneficiaries were found to have higher income levels than they reported.
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According to the department, this “resulted in VA pension overpayments which — in some cases — spanned many years.”
In the process of reviewing the pension verification process, the VA also found that roughly 30,000 more veterans and survivors, which it described as elderly and low income, may owe the department money as a result of pension debts.
“Recognizing the hardship and distress that these pension debts may cause, VA has paused the collection of all established pension debts and the establishment of…