VA to Repay $100 Million in Home Loan Fees Erroneously Charged to Veterans

July 26, 2019 by Sean Trambley
World War II Army and D-Day veteran Clair Martin at his Pacific Beach home in San Diego, California, May 29, 2019. Now 98-years-old, he was a soldier in the 29th Infantry Division when he and countless others stormed Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, to defeat Hitler's Germany, part of the largest sea invasion in history. He will attend the 75th anniversary commemoration in Normandy on June 6. (Howard Lipin/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

In the wake of a scathing, bipartisan letter from lawmakers, the Department of Veterans Affairs says it will refund $100 million in fees erroneously charged to thousands of exempted veterans who participated in the VA Home Loan Program.

In June, the department’s Office of Inspector General reported that $286.4 million in home loan fees had been wrongly charged to about 72,900 veterans who are entitled to VA disability compensation and therefore exempt from paying the fees.

The report also found that despite knowing of the erroneous charges, the VA had not given refunds to about 53,200 exempt veterans who were collectively owed $189 million. 

Last month, freshmen Representatives Mike Levin, D-Calif., chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, and Chris Pappas, D-N.H., chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, wrote a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie requesting information on the status of the payments.

The letter, sent on June 24, noted that “the amounts owed by VA averaged $4,483, with some veterans owed as much as $19,470.”

“I am encouraged to see that the VA has begun to repay millions of dollars in home loan fees that were erroneously charged to veterans,” Levin said earlier this week. “However, it is clear that the total owed by the VA is far greater than the $189 million identified to date. 

“I called on the VA to repay every last dime to veterans who were charged a fee they didn’t owe. They committed to me that all veterans will be paid back by the end of September, and I intend to make sure they follow through,” he said.

In a statement released last month, Levin said, “It is totally unacceptable that tens of thousands of our nation’s heroes were charged enormous sums of money that they didn’t owe because of negligence at the VA. The men and women who have served our country deserve better, and the VA must correct this situation immediately.”

“It is extremely alarming that the VA did not have adequate safeguards in place to ensure our veterans receive their earned benefits, leading to more than $280 million in improper payments,” Pappas said at the time. “We look forward to hearing from the VA on how they plan to remedy this immediately so veterans do not continue to face undue financial burdens.”

In the Senate, both Senators Jon Tester, D-Mont., and John Boozman, R-Ark.., have introduced legislation to ensure the repayment of the loan fees. However, the VA has moved to resolve this issue before the legislation is passed.

“Ensuring our veterans are not unfairly burdened while accessing home loans isn’t a partisan issue, so when VA doesn’t hold up its end of the deal, we need to do something about it,” said Tester, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

“Veterans rely on the VA to properly administer benefits they earned in service to our country,” Boozman said. “The department’s failure to uphold this responsibility has unduly burdened disabled veterans.”

In The News

Deep Local Roots Endure Even In Nationalized Partisan Political Era
Research
Deep Local Roots Endure Even In Nationalized Partisan Political Era
March 5, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – A new study suggests the deeper a member of Congress’s local roots in their congressional district, the less likely they are to attract a primary challenger, and if they do, the more likely they are to win by a significant margin.  The study, published... Read More

Swalwell Sues Trump, Others Over Capitol Hill Riot
Litigation
Swalwell Sues Trump, Others Over Capitol Hill Riot
March 5, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a House manager in Donald Trump’s last impeachment trial,, filed a civil lawsuit on Friday against the former president and others whose words and actions, he claims, led directly to January’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. The lawsuit which was... Read More

Affordable Housing in Danger in the Lone Star State
In The States
Affordable Housing in Danger in the Lone Star State
March 5, 2021
by Reece Nations

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has long been an attractive hotspot for individuals fleeing their states in search of low taxes and affordable housing. But the state’s reputation as an economical place to live might be in danger as cost-of-living expenses increase while wages stagnate in its... Read More

White House Suspends Tariffs on Scotch Whiskey and EU Wine
Trade
White House Suspends Tariffs on Scotch Whiskey and EU Wine
March 5, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The White House on Thursday agreed to suspend millions of dollars worth of tariffs on U.K. exports, including Scotch whisky, as part of an effort to resolve a long-running trans-Atlantic trade dispute over aerospace subsidies. In a joint statement, the White House and London... Read More

New Data Suggests Food Waste an 'Underexploited' Policy Area
United Nations
New Data Suggests Food Waste an 'Underexploited' Policy Area
March 5, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

The United Nations Environment Program released the 2021 Food Waste Index Report on Thursday, the most comprehensive data on food waste across 54 countries.   The report suggests that food waste is a significant problem, which data could help policymakers address.  In 2019, 17% of all food... Read More

For US to Remain Competitive Requires ‘Taking the Quantum Leap’
Education
For US to Remain Competitive Requires ‘Taking the Quantum Leap’
March 5, 2021
by Victoria Turner

If the United States wants to remain competitive in the global marketplace for the rest of this century and beyond, it needs to foster education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, said a group of experts on Thursday.  A robust “STEM workforce is... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top