VA to Repay $100 Million in Home Loan Fees Erroneously Charged to Veterans
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
In The News
CHICAGO — Justice Stephen Breyer, on the verge of retirement after 28 years on the Supreme Court, is being awarded... Read More
CHICAGO — Justice Stephen Breyer, on the verge of retirement after 28 years on the Supreme Court, is being awarded the ABA Medal, the highest honor conferred by the American Bar Association. Breyer, who for many years has served as the anchor of the so-called liberal... Read More
HONG KONG — A business in Asia making sustainable construction materials out of plastic waste is now keeping unrecyclable plastic... Read More
HONG KONG — A business in Asia making sustainable construction materials out of plastic waste is now keeping unrecyclable plastic out of landfills by using ecobricks in construction projects in Hong Kong. The concept of an ecobrick is not entirely new. An environmental activist in Guatemala... Read More
WASHINGTON — Among the questions now being asked in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v.... Read More
WASHINGTON — Among the questions now being asked in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning 50 years of abortion rights protections, is what the long-term impact will be on the nation’s adoption and foster care systems.... Read More
WASHINGTON — Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade Friday, anti-abortion groups have been celebrating their victory and abortion... Read More
WASHINGTON — Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade Friday, anti-abortion groups have been celebrating their victory and abortion rights groups have been mourning their loss, worried about what this means for the future of the country. Each generation protesting the decision seems to have... Read More
WASHINGTON — Rahul Gupta talked to a congressional panel Monday about patients he treated with drug overdoses. Gupta is director... Read More
WASHINGTON — Rahul Gupta talked to a congressional panel Monday about patients he treated with drug overdoses. Gupta is director of the U.S. National Drug Control Policy. He formerly worked as an internist in private practice for 25 years. Rather than victims finding help with addictions... Read More
WASHINGTON — In a unanimous ruling the Supreme Court said on Monday that prosecutors must prove doctors knowingly misprescribed drugs... Read More
WASHINGTON — In a unanimous ruling the Supreme Court said on Monday that prosecutors must prove doctors knowingly misprescribed drugs to secure convictions against them for the unlawful distribution of controlled medicines, like opioids. The decision came down in a case brought by two doctors, Xiulu... Read More