53 minutes | Sep 14th 2020

#211: Benefits Breakdown, Debt Management Center

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This week's episode of Borne the Battle is a Benefits Breakdown on the VA Debt Management Center (DMC). It features DMC's National Finance Director Joe Schimitt and DMC Director of Operations Jason Hoge. Schmitt and Hoge explain how the DMC helps Veterans with financial relief, how the debt repayment process works, and how the DMC actually assists Veterans by helping to improve their financial planning.

Schmitt and Hoge explain the DMC mission, how it guides Veterans' debt repayments, and some recent changes. Those changes include:
  • Technology updates.
  • An oath for employees must take to serve the Veterans in their care.
  • Required 13.5 week debt counselors training.

Schimitt, a former Marine, advocates for “compassionate service.” That mission not only comes from his military service, but also from a personal history of having to repay medical debt. His son was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis. The needed surgery, cranial vault remodeling, corrected his son's head shape, enabling the brain, skull, and head to grow. But the treatment put him in serious debt, and one that helps him empathize with those in similar binds.

DMC UPDATESDue to the pandemic, Hurricane Laura and the recent wildfires there have recent changes to DMC's operations, including financial relief options:
  • VA has suspended all actions on Veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department.
  • VA has suspended collection action and repayment terms on existing VA debts, as the Veteran prefers.
For benefit-based debts, Veterans can contact the VA Debt Management Center at 1-800-827-0648 to make debt repayment arrangements.For health care debts, Veterans can contact the Health Resource Center at 1-888-827-4817 to make debt repayment arrangements.For more info on the DMC, visit https://www.va.gov/debtman/.

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