March 22, 2016 3:00 p.m.
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says the Veterans Administration will offer relief from what he terms as “an unfair hardship” for National Guardsmen and Reservists in Oregon.
Information from the senator’s office says the change will help members of the Guard and Reserve who due to paperwork delays at the VA, were unexpectedly having their VA benefit checks interrupted for an unreasonable amount of time.
Wyden says he is “gratified that the VA has sliced through the red tape to treat our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen with the fairness they deserve”.
Wyden says that Guardsmen and Reservists who qualify for veteran’s benefits can collect both VA monthly compensation and their Reserve or Guard paycheck, also known as drill pay, just not for the same days. Following an annual audit, the VA notifies each veteran of its “adjustment” proposal to withhold the overlapping benefits, reflecting the number of days, either active or part time, that the veteran served during the previous fiscal year.
In the past, Wyden says those who served would promptly return each year’s drill pay adjustment paperwork, only to have it languish with the VA. He claims that far too often the result was the VA processing several years’ worth of drill pay adjustments at the same time. That led to notifying the Guardsmen or Reservist that the VA would soon begin withholding several years’ worth of payments. Wyden says the solution is to allow the service members to go on a manageable repayment schedule where they have the opportunity to mitigate any hardships that result from the pay adjustments.
The Oregon County Veteran Service Officers Association credits the policy change to Wyden’s “strong advocacy for veterans”. .