The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that individuals who have been affected by natural disasters, such as the wildfires in California and Oregon or hurricanes in the Southeast, can receive a 90-day suspension of debt collection efforts, in order to give those individuals time to get back on their feet.
“Veterans and their families should be focused on their health and safety during the natural disasters,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in a statement. “VA is taking action to give those with pending debts greater flexibility during these challenging times.”
Veterans have the option of suspending their debt payments for 90 days or extending the repayment terms on pre-existing debts, according to the VA.
The VA had already announced that it had suspended the collection of certain debts through the end of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The suspension of collection began in April and was extended through December in June. Only debts that fall under the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department are eligible for suspension. Debts that are owed to the VA itself are still eligible to be collected.
Legislation has also been introduced in Congress that would broaden the suspension of collection activities, adding in debts that are owed to the VA as well as the Treasury Department and extending the moratorium until after the coronavirus emergency declaration is lifted.