Hi All! I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have found this forum. I have two Post 9/11 GI Bill debts to the VA, totaling 20k - for an ASSOCIATES DEGREE! I won't waste time explaining how they say this happened, but I would really appreciate any advice/recommendations for my side of this process. I do want to share some of what has happened and where I'm at in the process now, in the event it helps someone else and to give you all a more complete picture of my case, as I ask for your help in what to include on my request to my congressman--what exactly am I asking him to do?
Here are the deets (short version, I promise):
I requested a waiver of debt/compromise or extended payment plan 40 days after notification of my debt, along with a request for an audit of my debts because it doesn't add up (literally or figuratively). As I waited for a response on these items, we PCS'd; time slipped by. I didn't begin making payments because I was waiting for it to be sorted out. **Lesson learned: make some kind of payment until your waiver has been accepted into the review process.**
Having heard nothing from the VA in five months (I'd been told the process generally takes 3-6 months), I finally received a letter stating my accounts were delinquent. I called them up and learned that although they received that original email (I had the automated confirmation), the waiver request and financial status report (FSR) were never opened. Therefore, my timeline continued tracking and I was now in (INTERNAL) collections. One agent I spoke with was rightly disgusted that no one let me know they couldn't (or didn't) open my attachments, and he was able to reset my clock (60 days, I think) before it went to EXTERNAL collections (interest rate and fees). He also had me resend my waiver request/FSR (which he opened just fine from my original email) and marked it "EXPEDITE". He asked me to call back late February to check on it.
I called mid-Feb and learned that the request had been denied due to the fact it was not made within 180 days of notification of my debt. Again, the agent I spoke with immediately saw this was incorrect, as my original request was made within 40 days. He resubmitted it and accepted it for review as timely.
Now, I still have 3-6 months for a waiver determination and these collection accounts are already on my credit report. I plan on making monthly $100 payments on each account until a determination is made so that it doesn't go straight to EXTERNAL collections, if the waiver is denied.
All recommendations and insight are welcome! Thank you for your time, and for everything you've shared already.
In writing my Congressmen, what exactly should I ask him to do?
To have this removed from my credit report, should I dispute my collection account with the VA my collection or the credit reporting agencies?
Is there anyone else I should include, or appeal to?
P.S. This happened to about 30 of my GI Bill classmates during a VA audit, so you aren't just helping me--what you share could help us all!