Former military members may be eligible to receive a number of different veterans benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Possible benefits include disability compensation, pension benefits, life insurance, educational benefits and more. The former service member may also be entitled to additional benefits for dependents. Where the service member is also responsible for paying child support, certain benefits can be garnished to ensure the support obligation is met. The first step is to correctly categorize the benefit to determine if it is subject to garnishment. The second step is establishing a need on the part of the party seeking support and other dependents as well as a failure by the veteran to supply the need. Thirdly, the VA must be assured that there will not be an undue hardship on the veteran as a result of the garnishment.
Procedurally, the party seeking the garnishment must apply for an apportionment. The form asks for information on the total income, sources of income, and expenses for the veteran as well as the custodial parent. The VA will review the request for apportionment and determine if it is appropriate. In either event a formal decision will be rendered. The final decision can be appealed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The state child support agency will need to be involved with apportionment requests. Copies of the current support order and records of any arrears owed and former payment history will need to be supplied to the VA to review as evidence when making its determination on whether garnishment is appropriate and a reasonable amount to be garnished.