Financial Services Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Delaney Bill to Protect Veterans Credit
WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation authored by Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) to protect the credit ratings of veterans was examined by the Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit during a hearing on Tuesday. In May, Congressman Delaney and Congressman Randy Hultgren (IL-14) introduced the Protecting Veterans Credit Act (H.R. 2683), legislation to make sure that veterans do not suffer from unnecessary financial hardship due to delayed payments associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Choice Program and other Community Care programs.
“It’s completely unacceptable to me that a veteran could see their credit rating ruined because of delayed VA payments, especially when they may be using the Choice Program because of delays or inconveniences in getting the care they need,” said Congressman Delaney. “There’s not a member of Congress that wants that, so let’s work together to solve this problem. Congressman Hultgren and I have been working on this issue for a number of years and I hope that today’s hearing was the next step in getting this legislation out of committee and to the House floor. I’d like to thank the many colleagues who voiced their support in today’s hearing as well as Subcommittee Chairman Luetkemeyer for including our bill today.”
The slow disbursement of Veterans Choice Program payments has meant that potentially thousands of veterans have been adversely affected, having large and inaccurate medical debts wrongly listed in their name while the VA and private providers work through billing. This can make it more difficult and more expensive for veterans to buy a home or car, rent a place to live or be hired at a new job. The Protecting Veterans Credit Act delays medical debt from medical services received through non-VA medical care, including the Choice Program, from being reported on an individual’s credit report for one year. This delay provides adequate time for the VA and its contractors to resolve any billing issues, while retaining a route for resolution of any co-payments or other obligations.
Tuesday’s hearing included testimony by Matthew Shuman, Director, Legislative Division of the American Legion in support of Congressman Delaney’s bill. In his written testimony for the subcommittee, Shuman stated, “The American Legion applauds Representative Delaney for introducing H.R. 2683, a piece of legislation aimed at protecting the fine men and women who have selflessly taken an oath to defend our great nation.”
In addition to the American Legion, Delaney’s 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 Association of the United States Navy, the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients) and the Consumer Federation of America. The bill currently has 25 bipartisan cosponsors.