This large over payment appears to be due to a miscommunication between Speckler and the Veterans Affairs office concerning a change in his marital status. More specifically, Speckler notified the Veterans Affairs of his divorce in order to remove his former spouse from his Tricare benefits and made the assumption that this would also trigger an adjustment on his compensation benefits. As it turns out, that was not the case and now Speckler is on the hook for over payments dating back to 2010.
In a recent article by NPR, it was determined that the agency overpaid 2,200 incarcerated vets more than $24 million in 2015, but this is likely only a small fraction of the money the VA is trying to collect.
According to the Veterans Benefits Administration, disability compensation payments are reduced if a Veteran is convicted of a felony and imprisoned for more than 60 days.
The size of the reduction is based on factors such as the veterans rating percentage prior to being convicted and veteran’s marital status. The disability compensation can be reinstated after the veterans release but amount of the compensation can change based on a number of factors. There are also a number of exceptions that could further alter payment amounts and frequency.
With all of these different accounting variables, it easy to understand how a veteran may misunderstand the amount of payment he/she should be receiving; leading to inaccurate payments.
Many of the veterans that have been notified of over payment and now seeking help from legal counsel and other advocacy groups to understand and combat this issue. Most often, this results in working with the Veterans Affairs to establish a more reasonable repayment plan, allowing the veteran to make smaller monthly payments as opposed to withholding all future disbursements.