House advances Hill legislation protecting veterans from VA errors

The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation on Wednesday introduced by U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-AR) that seeks to correct Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) payment errors adversely affecting American veterans.

The VA Overpayment Accountability Act, H.R. 4360, introduced by Rep. Hill with lead sponsor U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), would assist veterans targeted by debt collection agencies due to VA overpayment errors.

In recent years, the department has seen an increase in overpayments to veterans because of the current method of processing dependency changes and communication errors between outdated IT systems, a statement from Rep. Hill’s office said. The VA then attempts to recover the overpayments by withholding monthly benefit checks, directly impacting the nearly 1.4 million U.S. veterans facing poverty issues.

“Our nation makes a promise to the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces and in return for risking their lives in the defense of freedom and liberty, they have earned the right to financial and medical benefits,” Rep. Hill said. “The VA Overpayment Accountability Act takes a step towards strengthening that promise to our veterans by addressing the longstanding payment errors at the VA that have burdened too many Arkansas families at no fault of their own.”

If enacted, the legislation would ensure that those affected by the overpayment errors would be assisted in improving any damage to their credit scores and require the VA to make improvements to their IT and payment processing systems. The bill would also require the VA to implement an audit of erroneous payments by the Veterans Benefits Administration.

H.R. 4360 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for further consideration.

“I’m pleased to see this commonsense solution receive overwhelming bipartisan support from my House colleagues and call on the Senate to send it to the president’s desk to be signed into law,” the congressman said.