Financial Services Committee to Consider Delaney Legislation to Protect Credit Scores of Veterans
WASHINGTON – Congressman John K. Delaney’s (MD-6) Protecting Veterans Credit Act will be considered this week by the House Financial Services Committee during a markup scheduled for Wednesday. The legislation is designed to protect veterans from unnecessary financial harm by ensuring that their credit ratings are not adversely affected by delayed payments associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Choice Program and other VA Community Care programs.
Congressman Randy Hultgren (IL-14) is the lead Republican on the bill, which currently has 31 cosponsors.
“No veteran should have their credit ruined because of delays at the VA and that’s why we need this bill,” said Congressman Delaney. “I’m looking forward to discussing this important legislation with my colleagues in the committee. This is the next step in getting the bill to the House floor for a vote.”
The legislation creates a one year credit reporting grace period for the resolution of debt from medical services. Delayed disbursement of associated payments has meant that potentially thousands of veterans could have large and inaccurate medical debts listed in their name as the VA and private providers work through billing.
The Protecting Veterans Credit Act has been endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the American Legion, Wounded Warrior Project, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients) and the Consumer Federation of America.
Enacted in 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Choice Program provides veterans with the ability to receive medical care in a non-VA facility if the VA cannot schedule an appointment within a specified time period or if the veteran lives more than 40 miles from the closest VA medical facility. Unfortunately, there have been widespread issues with the implementation of the program, including delayed Choice Program payments and inappropriately assigned bills to veterans.