By Raymond Taylor
Archuleta County Veterans Service Office
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will resume overpayment notifications for new benefit debts and the debts deferred from April 6, 2020, through Sept. 30 due to the COVID pandemic.
The VA suspended debt collection April 6, 2020, and will restart debt collection Oct. 1; however, the VA will not deduct debts from benefits payments until January 2022.
Collections on medical copayments created prior to April 6, 2020, and on new medical copayments will also resume Oct. 1.
Debt notification letters sent to affected veterans and beneficiaries will include options to request debt relief for those who continue to need financial relief from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department will continue to provide relief options such as extending repayment plans, waivers and temporary hardship suspensions during these challenging times. It has been and will remain a priority of the department to work individually with each veteran.
Veterans and beneficiaries with questions or requiring assistance on debt management can access the following resources:
• For benefit debt information, review frequently asked questions, submit requests online or call (800) 827-0648.
• For medical care and pharmacy services copayment debt, contact the Health Resource Center at (866) 400-1238.
Grant allows Vets4Vets to help local veterans
Vets4Vets of Archuleta County has received a grant from the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. This financial grant is to support veterans in our community through the following assistance: housing, utilities, mental health counseling, dental services, travel assistance, automobile repairs, gas and food cards, and emergency veteran assistance.
Contact Vets4Vets at https://vets4vetspsco.org/ or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans: Thank you for your service. Welcome home.
For further information on VA benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office (VSO), located at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.
The office: (970) 264-4013, fax number: (970) 264-4014, and email is email@example.com. Bring your DD Form 214 (discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll, and for filing in the Archuleta County VSO. Always leave a message and phone number to contact you.
The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:
• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.
• Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Tennyson Building Event Center, 197 Navajo Trail Drive, on all but the first Tuesday. Breakfast meeting on the first Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. Contact (970) 799-8387 for more details.
• Combat Veterans PTSD Group: every other Tuesday at noon, Community United Methodist Church, Lewis Street. Contact Gary Hanneman at (970) 946-2540.
• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: first and third Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., Dr. Carter’s office; contact Charlotte at (970) 903-9690.
• Vets4Vets: (970) 799-VETS, www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.
• Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: (970) 247-2214.
• Farmington VA Center: (505) 326-4383.
• VAMC Albuquerque, N.M.: (800) 465-8262.
• VA Health Care Emergency Notification: (844) 724-7842.
The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.