VA Benefits Dependent Verification Glitch

VA Benefits Dependent Verification Glitch

At some point over the last few months, the VA's dependent verification system encountered a glitch, among other glitches involving veteran dependents. As a result there is a backlog of dependent verification and claims. Supposedly the glitch was found and fixed in January.

More technical problems found with VA’s disability claims system
Nearly 90,000 cases filed through have been delayed because of glitches in the department’s system.

If you have been a disabled veteran receiving benefits for 6-8 years, you might already have received a packet with forms asking you to verify your dependents.

No proofs are required to verify, simply a form providing your information, and theirs, stating they are still active as your dependent.

Unfortunately, if you aren't receiving letters from the VA, for whatever reason, it's possible you will not even learn about the debt until you see it coming out of your account.

Trust Me, Don't Wait, Just Check

The cost of not logging periodically just be sure, can be quite high.

They Will Thanos Snap Your Dependents, And Income

If you fail to verify your dependents, the VA will backdate your pay for about $125.00 per month, going back to the original month and year you verified them.

Assuming 8 years, $125 * 12 * 8 = $12,000 is the debt the VA has generated for me.
Unfortunately the forms that were intended to be sent to me, were sent to a previous address I haven't lived at for 6 years.

And you have a limited amount of time to do anything about it (about 1 year from the time they make their decision to create the debt, whether you know about it or not).

The Problem

And Solutions

If you have dealt with the VA Benefits system before, you know it's not always easy to get a straight answer. For some, it's rare to get all of the correct information in a single phone call. It has taken me about 30 phone calls (I lost track after 20, and that was 2 months ago)

If a debt is created due to wrong address, lack of response, or a glitch in their system (common) you can ask for them to delay collecting the debt. Contact the VA Debt Management office via the number found on the Debt information page in your profile. If the debt was created erroneously, they should have no issue delaying collection. They can delay it up to 6 months, which should be plenty of time to resolve dependent verification with the regional Compensation and Benefits office.

Dependents can be automatically removed from benefits on or about their 18th birthday. You should contact the VA Benefits (1800 827 1000) office in order to update your contact information, address, and to let them know about your dependents.

Get Logged In

It's also a good idea to log into your profile and ensure you don't have letters or a debt generated from lack of verification.

Submit Forms The Easy Way

Use the AccessVA Quick Submit tool to quickly upload forms. The forms will be received overnight, and sent to the correct department immediately. Mailed forms have travel time, and both mail and faxed forms get sent to a central processing facility before being sent to the appropriate departments. Quick Submit cuts out some of the steps required to get your forms to the correct people, but it's also a good idea to follow it up by faxing or mailing your forms. If you can't find the appropriate fax number for each form, contact the VA Regional Office for that info.

Verify Dependents

The VA FORM 21-0538 will allow you to verify your existing dependents and satisfy the requirements put forth by the VA to prevent incurring a debt.

Add New Dependents

If you need to add new dependents to your benefits, you can use VA FORM 21-686c

Priority Processing

If you have a purple heart, terminal illness, ALS, age 85+, former POW, or experiencing extreme financial hardship, you should also submit a VA FORM 20-10207.

If you need additional room to provide explanation or information about your situation, you can include VA FORM 21-4138 as well.

Help Us Improve

This problem is still an ongoing process for me. Once the debt is fully resolved I will update this post with everything I've learned.

If you know of a better solution, or you have solutions to other problems veterans face, we would love to hear about it. Sign up, jump into the comments below, and let us know!