Income Withholding and Medical Support for Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits

Publication Date: May 4, 2021

Frequently asked questions regarding information on sending an income withholding order to attach a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits payment

How to determine whether a parent paying child support is receiving VA benefits

Child support workers need to get locate information from the Federal Parent Locator Service's (FPLS) external locate sources. The VA provides information about pensions, compensation, and educational benefits, as well as the address of the parent paying support.

How to decide whether to send an Income Withholding for Support (IWO) for VA benefits

Section 459 of the Social Security Act Visit disclaimer page , as amended, and the statutes governing benefit payments by the VA provide for withholding of child and spousal support from some federal payments, but child support agencies cannot garnish most benefits paid by the VA. The exception is disability compensation paid in lieu of waived military retired or retainer pay, as discussed in example #1 below.

Example #1:
5 CFR 581.103 (c)(7) Visit disclaimer page provides that if a veteran who is eligible to receive military retired or retainer pay has waived a portion of retired or retainer pay in order to receive disability compensation from the VA, that portion of the VA benefit is subject to garnishment for child and spousal support obligations. Regulations clarify that where the former member has waived the entire amount of his or her military retirement pay, that individual's disability compensation is not subject to income withholding for child support.

For help in determining whether a veteran waived any portion of retired or retainer pay in order to receive VA benefits, contact the VA Regional Office Inquiry Line: 1-800-827-1000.

Sending or terminating an IWO for a VA benefit payment

Department of Veterans Affairs
Compensation Intake Center
P.O. Box 4444
Jamesville, WI 53547

How to apply for an apportionment

In addition to the garnishment of benefits discussed above, statutes and regulations also provide for the apportionment of VA benefits to provide spouses and dependents with financial support under certain circumstances. Examples #2 and 3 below explain this option further:

Example #2:
38 U.S.C. § 5307 and VA regulation 38 CFR 3.450 (a)(1)(ii) Visit disclaimer page provide that if the veteran is not residing with a spouse or children and the veteran is not reasonably discharging a responsibility for the spouse's or children's support, then the veteran's pension, compensation, or emergency officer's retirement pay may be apportioned. An apportionment is not made if it would cause undue hardship to the veteran or in certain other circumstances specified by statute or regulation. The VA determines whether to apportion VA benefits according to regulations found at 38 CFR 3.450-3.461 Visit disclaimer page .

Example #3:
VA regulation 38 CFR 3.451 Visit disclaimer page authorizes a special apportionment of a veteran's pension, compensation, emergency officer's retirement pay, or dependency and indemnity compensation between the veteran and spouse or children when the spouse or children demonstrate a need for the benefit. The VA bases an apportionment on the facts in the individual case, such as amount of VA benefits payable, other resources and income of the veteran, spouse and children, and special needs of the veteran, spouse, or children. The VA does not make an apportionment if it might cause undue hardship to the veteran or in certain other circumstances.

Follow these steps to request an apportionment:

  1. The child support agency should write to the VA using agency letterhead to request an apportionment review. Both the appropriate agency official and the parent receiving support should sign the letter.
  2. After receiving an apportionment application, the VA usually requests a completed VA Form 21-0788, "Information Regarding Apportionment of Beneficiary's Award." (PDF) Visit disclaimer page The child support agency provides information regarding the parent receiving support income and net worth on the form. A child support office can save time by submitting the form as part of the first step.
  3. Attach a copy of the current support order to assist the VA in reviewing the request for the apportionment award.
  4. Attach a copy of the arrearage determination, payment ledger, payment records, etc.
  5. Send the IWO to
    Department of Veterans Affairs
    Compensation Intake Center
    P.O. Box 4444
    Jamesville, WI 53547

How to secure health care coverage for children of a VA beneficiary

The VA does not provide health care coverage for beneficiaries. Do not send the National Medical Support Notice to the VA.

Additional Questions?

For case-specific inquiries, contact 1-800-827-1000.