Authenticity of a "No VA Benefits" letter


Hi Jim, I recently received a "no benefit" letter from VA stating I don't currently receive monetary benefits from VA. Opposing counsel has reached out stating they need to verify the authenticity of such letter and are asking me to sign a release authorization, which I am not comfortable with as they can see all my records . I told them they could reach out to VA and verify authenticity themselves. They are now saying that, as the spouse,she has right to access my records.  Is this true? thank you!!

Jim's Reply:

I have doubts that your VBA records can be accessed for divorce without an order of a court. However, I've never heard of the VBA sending out a "no benefit" letter as you say they have and that makes me wonder how you came by that. 

So...I see this playing out a couple of ways. The first and most favorable to you is that you are being absolutely truthful and that you do not collect any VA monetary benefits. Once you've said that there's nothing more to be said.

Then again, if you do collect VA monetary benefits and you are not reporting them so you don't have to pay the state mandated amount of child support or alimony, you're setting up a trap for yourself that will undoubtedly catch you in the future. 

Once there is a order...from the court about alimony or child support your ex will have the right to file for an apportionment (more or less a garnishment) of any VA benefits you may receive. The ex doesn't have to know anything about your benefits, this can be a fishing expedition...completely legit.

The VA may or may not allow the apportionment request but the required investigation upon filing the apportionment form will expose the benefits you receive. Then the ex takes you back before the family court and shows the judge you defied a court order by misinforming the court and an adjustment should be made.

The court never takes kindly to a participant in actions before that court trying to deceive the judge.

So...if the "no benefit" thing is legit, good on you, no worries. If you're trying to pull a fast one...don't. It just isn't worth it.