Holderness, NH asked in Bankruptcy for New Hampshire

Q: I recently acquired a debt of $82,000.00 to the veteran’s administration.

For the past six years the VA overpaid me for compensation and pension benefits. All that time I thought the benefit was a lifetime benefit. My stupidity is no excuse, but the VA paid me the benefits every month. At the time VA homeless shelter personnel collaborated with me to get the compensation benefit. I am 70 years old, retired and living off my Social Security. My question is, what do I do?

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2 Lawyer Answers
William J. Amann
William J. Amann pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Manchester, NH
  • Licensed in New Hampshire

A: Your Justia inquiry came in as a "Bankruptcy" question, so I assume you think that is the way to go. It might be. First, you may be judgment proof and filing might be unnecessary. Second, the VA might have a process in place to deal with this. If it's Bankruptcy, I'm assuming that you're more suited to a chapter 7 (as opposed to a 13 or 11). Third, you're likely to be eligible for a Chapter 7 Discharge under 11 U.S. Code § 727. I'm speculating here but you'd likely get a discharge because I do not believe the VA debt has any special priority under 11 U.S. Code § 523. There are exceptions to discharge related to taxes, fines, penalties, etc. to government entities so that would have to be examined.

Timothy Denison agrees with this answer

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: You should contact the VA as soon as possible to clarify the situation and explore your options. They may offer repayment plans that consider your current income and ability to pay. It's also possible to dispute the debt if you believe the overpayment was not due to any fault of your own or if there's an error. Additionally, consulting with an attorney experienced in veterans' benefits may help you understand your rights and any potential defenses you might have. It's important to act quickly to address the issue and to keep a detailed record of all communications you have with the VA regarding this matter. If financial hardship is a concern, you may also inquire about the possibility of a waiver or compromise offer. Remember, open communication with the VA and seeking legal advice are your immediate steps.

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