7 Tips for Funding Your Veteran-Owned Small Business

Veterans business owners face challenges when it comes to securing funding, but this advice could help.

Military veterans often face challenges when it comes to funding their business with a veteran small business loan, but finding capital that works for you is not impossible, especially when you have help. (Full Disclosure: I am the CEO and co-founder of StreetShares, a financing community for veteran business owners.)

If you find yourself in this situation, here are seven tips to help get you started on getting your business finances in order.

1. Assess Your Strengths & Weaknesses as a Borrower

Before you begin your search, make sure you know where your small business stands. How much funding do you need? How much can you afford to pay back each month? Are your margins higher than the interest rates?

It is also helpful to be realistic about your chances of accessing different funding options. Do you know your credit score? (If not, you can check it free on Credit.com.) How are the rest of your financials?

Finally, make sure your documents are in order. Have you filed your taxes? Do you have an updated balance sheet and income statement? Being prepared can save you time and grief later on. Follow these two easy steps to determine your financial needs.

2. Understand the Terrain Lenders Navigate

There’s a heap of regulations and internal policies that lenders must comply with in regards to small business funding that can make the lending experience hard and expensive for the borrower and the lender. It’s important to understand some of these factors that could affect your chances of getting funding.

For example, the lender must have access to capital on their end to be able to fund your loan. They also need the proper finances and marketing it takes to convince you to do business with them.

From the borrower’s perspective, here are a few things that should help you qualify for funding.

  • Earn the lender’s trust by displaying evidence of a good track record; you may have to find a way to convince lenders that you are trustworthy if your small business hasn’t yet established a good credit history (e.g., consistent, timely payback in the past).
  • Come to the table with assets to offer as collateral for the loan.
  • Have a compelling back-story in which you describe experiences and skills gained during your service that set you up for success.

Proper knowledge of both perspectives will help you have a better chance of smoothly navigating the early stages of funding.

3. Conduct Reconnaissance on the Options Available

While there may be a lending gap for veterans today compared with the veteran business loan options for veterans following World War II, technology is helping fill that gap with alternative online options. Make sure you research what’s available — from traditional banks to online lenders — and go with what makes sense for you given the stage of your business, your revenue and margins. Finally, make sure you understand what is offered: Some lenders charge 50% or more for loans, which few new businesses can afford.

4. Think Outside the Box

Funding can sometimes come from an unconventional source. Do you have a family member, friend, fellow veteran or schoolmate that made it big and would love to be part of your adventure? If you’re a young business, try a crowdfunding campaign or look for veteran small business grants, SBA loans or contests and awards for veteran entrepreneurs.

5. Connect with Veteran-Focused Mentoring Programs

Mentors provide insight and connections that can help accelerate the growth of your business, as well as teach you invaluable skills – such as how to present your business to potential investors. There are lots of great veteran-focused entrepreneurship mentoring programs out there, such as:

  • Bunker Labs is a program built by veterans to help veteran-owned tech startups launch and accelerate their businesses.
  • American Corporate Partners (ACP) is focused on helping military members as they transition into business. ACP will match veteran entrepreneurs with a mentor who shares the same personal and business interests for a 12-month mentoring program.
  • Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities is designed to help veterans launch and grow their businesses by leveraging skills veterans learned in the military and applying them to business ownership.
  • Some states have programs for veteran entrepreneurs. For example, Veterans Florida has developed an entrepreneurship program that offers a tuition-free, online and on-campus program. It’s designed to work around busy schedules, giving participants the option to access local resources such as business mentors at partner campuses.

6. Follow Through

You would never show up on a mission in the military without training for it and having a well-thought-through plan. You should take funding applications just as seriously — be responsive to questions from the lender you’re working with and prompt in delivering asked-for information.

Lenders work with a long list of businesses seeking funding. Small business owners should aim to make lenders happy to call them first thing in the morning.

7. Believe in Your Mission

Veterans bring skills, knowledge and grit to the table. Smart lenders know this makes you a high-value asset as a business owner, partner or borrower. As you grow your business, leverage your experiences in uniform and prove that you and your company are a worthwhile investment. You’ve got this.

This post was originally published on the StreetShares blog.

Image: Steve Debenport

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50 Ways to Honor the True Meaning of Memorial Day

It's more than hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. Here's how you can celebrate the lives of the men and women who died serving their country.

If you’ve had a loved one die in military service, you especially understand the importance of Memorial Day, which honors the fallen men and women who served the United States. Whether you’ve lost a loved one or not, doing something to recognize the sacrifices of our fallen heroes this year can be a wonderful way to say thank you. We’ve rounded up a list of 50 ways you can honor the true spirit of Memorial Day.

1. Volunteer to Raise & Lower Cemetery Flags …

It may seem like a simple thing, but reaching out to your local cemetery, especially a veterans cemetery, can make a big difference, particularly in rural areas where there may be fewer family members of the men and women buried there living nearby and available to volunteer.

2. … Or to Help Maintain Cemetery Grounds

The same goes for cemetery maintenance. Helping to maintain the final resting place of fallen troops by volunteering to prune trees, mend cemetery flags, repair cemetery benches or pull weeds can make a big difference to visiting family members.

3. … Or to Greet Cemetery Visitors

The Department of Veterans Affairs suggests one way to make a difference this Memorial Day is to volunteer to greet families at special services at veterans cemeteries. Your thanks for their sacrifice can go a long way.

4. … Or to Play Taps

If you’re a bugler, you can also volunteer to play taps live for Memorial Day or even at veterans’ funerals throughout the year. Congress passed a law in 2000 to allow a recorded version of taps to be played at these funerals since there are more veterans funerals than buglers the military can provide. But many families prefer a live bugler, so there is still significant demand for your talents.

5. … Or to Clean Up a Grave Site

You’ve seen them — the untended graves of fallen veterans who have no family remaining. You can volunteer to keep these grave sites free of weeds and the headstones cleaned of dirt and debris. You can also volunteer to …

6. Place Flowers & Flags on Graves

Sure, there are veterans groups and others who do this, but you can always help them or make this simple gesture on your own.

7. Adopt a Grave Site

You can also make maintenance of a specific grave site official through the Adopt a Grave program. Volunteers take care of the graves of the fallen soldiers, keeping them debris-free and decorating them with flowers. Check with your local cemetery to see if they support the program.

8. Share Your Story

Whether it’s a post on social media, a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or a piece you wish to publish in a magazine or on a website, sharing your personal story of loss and remembrance is a wonderful way to memorialize your fallen veteran.

9. Share a Veteran’s Story

Likewise, telling another person’s story can be a wonderful way to recognize their sacrifice. Did your grandfather die in combat? A friend? A member of your community? Telling their story, especially when you can include photographs, can be a lovely reminder of what Memorial Day is all about.

10. Make a Recording for NPR’s StoryCorps

If your story is especially compelling, you may want to consider recording it. NPR’s StoryCorps stories are stored in the Library of Congress. You can learn more about StoryCorps here.

11. Join the Memorial Day Facebook Page

You can share stories and photos of your fallen hero here, plus see the posts of other military family members.

12. Donate Your Time …

There are literally dozens of volunteer opportunities to help veterans and military families. Check your local organizations today to see what you can do in your community.

13. … Or Your Money

The same goes for monetary donations. There are many worthy organizations. As you research which is right for you, you may come across some organizations which which you are unfamiliar. The site Charity Navigator provides information on how much of your donation will benefit that organization’s particular cause, rather than administrative costs, so you can be sure your money is making an impact.

14. … Or Your Blood

Your donation could be the difference in a family remembering their service member on Memorial Day, or thanking them personally on Veterans Day.

15. Make a Memorial Donation

If you have a fallen loved one, you can make your donation in their name.

16. Help a Surviving Family

If you’d like to help by providing support for families of the fallen, both the USO and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors offer financial and emotional support to bereaved spouses and children of troops who have died serving their country.

17. Send Flowers

If you live in the New York metro area, you may want to consider sending a thank-you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation, which will be placed at the New York City war memorials.

18. Help Out Living Service Members

Donating time or resources to a veterans organization, like the Wounded Warrior Project, can make a huge difference in the lives of surviving service members wounded during duty.

19. Write a Letter to an Active Duty Service Member

Writing letters to active duty military members is a time-honored tradition. It can mean a lot to the men and women far from their homes and families. There are several resources online to help you get your letter to service member.

20. Invite a Service Member Over for Your Cookout

Want to thank a service member in person? Why not have him or her over for your Memorial Day barbecue?

21. Observe a Moment of Silence

There’s an official National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, but you can take a moment from your weekend activities whenever the time is right for you to reflect on the sacrifices of our fallen heroes.

22. Say a Prayer

If you’re religious, take time to say thanks for our fallen veterans.

23. Carry the Load

The Dallas Memorial March by “Carry the Load” is the organization’s flagship event, occurring over two days and honoring service members and their families for the sacrifices they make. Participants join in the Memorial March at any time during the two days and walk, even for just a few minutes.

24. Fly Your Flag – But Do So Properly

Proper flag etiquette prescribes that the Stars and Stripes be raised at half staff from sunrise until noon on Memorial Day, and then raised to full staff for the rest of the day.

25. Watch the National Memorial Day Concert …

This annual concert will be televised live on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Sunday, May 28 at 8 p.m. EDT.

26. … Or Find a Concert Near You

Lots of cities and towns have their own musical remembrance for Memorial Day. Check your local listings to find what’s available in your area.

27. Join the Parade

Attend the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., or find a local parade nearer to you.

28. Join the Rolling Thunder ‘Ride For Freedom’

If you love motorcycles, you may want to consider joining this giant biker brigade honoring our fallen veterans.

29. Attend a Memorial Day Service …

Check your local listings for services in your area.

30. … Or the National Service at Flanders Field

If you live in the D.C. metro area, you may wish to attend the national Memorial Day service.

31. … Or a Memorial Day Service Overseas

If you’re overseas, you don’t have to skip honoring our fallen veterans. There are dozens of American cemeteries around the world where fallen military members have been laid to rest. Many of these have Memorial Day services that are free and open to the public.

32. Buy a Buddy Poppy

Call your nearest Veterans of Foreign Wars post to find out where to purchase their handmade poppies. Your purchase provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home For Children.

33. Make a Patriotic Playlist

Don’t overlook your Memorial Day soundtrack. Here are several ideas to get you started:

  • America the Beautiful
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • The Army Goes Rolling Along
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • Columbia the Gem of the Ocean
  • Fanfare for the Common Man
  • God Bless America
  • Hail Columbia
  • Library of Congress March
  • Marines’ Hymn

34. Watch a Military Movie

Why not watch a movie this Memorial Day that symbolizes exactly what the day is about — duty, sacrifice and grief. There are lots of recommendation lists online, but some of our favorites include Hamburger Hill, Saving Private Ryan, Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July.

35. Make Some Red, White & Blue Food

Just because you’re honoring the dead doesn’t mean you can’t have some tasty food as well. Check out Foodie Crush’s roundup of 50 patriotic treats that will be sure to make your guests remember the day’s focus.

36. Buy American

Do your part to support American businesses (many small businesses are owned by veterans) and buy American, especially on Memorial Day.

37. Get Active in Local Politics

Honoring the men and women who died for this country is wonderful, but civic responsibility helps ensure their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. Get involved in your local city or town council by running for office or attending open meetings. But don’t stop there. Do the same at the county or parish and even state levels.

38. Read About the History of Memorial Day

Sure, you know it’s about honoring our fallen veterans, but do you know the history of Memorial Day?

39. Read Aloud Logan’s General Order No. 11

If you want to make your Memorial Day moment of silence especially poignant, try reading the original order to recognize the dead afterward.

40. Teach Your Children About the Meaning of Memorial Day

Reminding your children of what the day is all about can help them appreciate the sacrifices made by our fallen veterans.

41. Read Memorial Day Speeches, Poems & More …

There are some amazing words written about our fallen heroes. If you want a few somber moments to reflect on their sacrifice, some of these pieces can help you do just that.

42. … Or Write Your Own

If you have any articles, essays, lyrics, poems, prayers or speeches relating to Memorial Day, consider donating a copy to be posted on usmemorialday.org.

43. Visit a National Military Park

Is there a historic battle site near you? Consider making a day trip to learn more about the battle and the sacrifices made there.

44. Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

If you’re near Washington, D.C., you could consider visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

45. Visit the Alamo

The site of one of the most famous battles on American soil is a true testament to sacrifice.

46. Visit Pearl Harbor

If you’re in Hawaii, pay your respects at the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

47. Visit Military Memorials in Washington, D.C.

A day at these somber sites is a wonderful way to reflect on the sacrifices of our fallen veterans.

48. Visit the Flight 93 Memorial

The passengers on Flight 93 weren’t members of the military, but these ordinary citizens and crew members joined together in an extraordinary act of selflessness, giving their lives for their country and saving potentially thousands of others on Sept. 11. If you’re near the site in Pennsylvania, it can be a wonderful way to reflect on self-sacrifice for the greater good.

49. Visit Nearby Historical Markers

If you can’t make it to a battleground, monument or other historic site, consider a simple road trip to read some of the historical markers in your area. Many of them are about battles lost and won right here on American soil.

50. Join the Military

If service to your country is important to you, consider enlisting in one of the four main branches of the military, in the Coast Guard or joining the Army National Guard.

Image: gjohnstonphoto

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4 Great Financing Resources for Veteran Entrepreneurs

Starting a business certainly isn't easy, but veteran entrepreneurs have some resources they can look into tapping.

No one said starting a business would be easy. But if you served our country, chances are you may qualify for certain financial assistance that can lessen the burden.

According to the 2007 Survey of Business Owners data released in 2011, there were 2.45 million businesses with majority ownership by veterans. What’s more, they represented 9% of all U.S. firms. With veterans playing such a key role in our economy, it’s worth it to see what’s out there before bootstrapping (i.e., using your own money).

Of course, if you’re going to apply for financing, be sure check your credit. Many business loans, most notably business credit cards, require a personal guarantee, meaning a lender is going to look at your credit file before giving their approval. You can see where two of your credit scores stand by viewing your free credit report summary, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com. If you find your credit needs improving, try paying down high credit card balances, disputing credit reports errors and addressing delinquent accounts. (We’ve got a few more ways you can quickly boost your credit scores here.)

With that in mind, here are four financing resources veteran entrepreneurs can look into tapping.

1. Small Business Association

Perhaps the most established of the resources listed here, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several loan options for veteran-owned businesses.

“Depending on a borrower’s needs, these loans can be used for a variety of purposes,” and are guaranteed by the SBA, said Craig Heilman, deputy associate administrator, Office of Veterans Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration. “Any small business can apply, and we encourage them to work with their district office or partners to get lender-ready.”

The SBA Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Act of 2015 “reduces the upfront borrower fee to zero dollars for eligible veterans and military spouses for SBA Express loans up to $350,000,” the administration’s site says. Leveraging Information and Networks to Access Capital (LINC) helps small business owners, including veterans, get in touch with advisers who specialize in microlending, smaller loans and real estate financing. To connect with an SBA-approved lender, you can visit the SBA’s website.

2. The Veterans Opportunity Fund

Launched in Maryland in October 2013 by TEDCO Capital Partners, which manages a family of venture capital funds, the Veterans Opportunity Fund (VOF) was designed to focus on service members specifically.

“It is our belief that veteran-owned business represent an attractive investment opportunity that, when proper due diligence is applied, can produce superior return on invested capital,” the site says. Not only are these veterans highly skilled — and highly disciplined — they’re committed to giving back to their country. Up to $3 million is up for grabs, so make sure your startup meets their criteria: Ideally you’re based on the East Coast, affiliated with technology and in the early revenue or testing stage.

3. The Veterans Business Resource Center

Though the St. Louis Veterans Business Center (VBRC) does not offer grants or financial aid per se, it does provide training on several aspects of entrepreneurship, from marketing to sales to business planning, and much more.

“There are adjusted fees for some classes, and clients who need on-site consulting are charged at a sliding scale,” the site says, but for the most part, there is little to no charge. “The VBRC emphasizes a distinctive veteran-to-veteran approach through extensive utilization of the many established and successful veterans in the St. Louis metropolitan area,” the site says. The organization focuses its efforts in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. “This veteran-to-veteran approach permeates all aspects of VBRC’s services from training and consulting to advocacy, networking and mentoring,” the site says. 

4. Veteran Entrepreneur Portal

Though the Veterans Administration doesn’t offer financing programs for entrepreneurs, said Randy Noller, who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs, “our office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) does provide some help to veterans to get contracts with government agencies, etc.”

The Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP), on the VA’s main site, makes it easier to locate Federal services online. Complete a questionnaire to see which government resources are best, or gather information directly on loans like the Fixed Assets CDC/504, which offer small businesses long-term, fixed-rate financing for major assets like land and buildings. You can also learn about CAPLines loans, which are ideal for meeting short-term working-capital needs.

Remember, whatever financing route you pursue, it’s important to read loan contracts carefully so you know exactly what you’re signing up for. You’ll also want to vet prospective lenders or offers thoroughly since, unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers out there that target vets. We’ve got more tips for veterans looking for a loan here.

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6 Solid Tips for Veterans in Need of a Loan

Veterans are faced with some unique money challenges. Fortunately, there are ways for them to get an affordable loan.

U.S. military members transitioning out of service can find themselves facing many unique money challenges. After all, duty to one’s country can understandably push personal money management to the back burner. Fortunately, there are steps veterans can take to secure the funding they need to achieve their financial goals.

Here are some tips for veterans looking to secure a mortgage, small business loan or other types of financing.

1. Know What Federal Benefits Are Available …

There are programs out there designed to help veterans and their families overcome the various money challenges that can arise when a family member is on active duty. For instance, veterans are eligible for VA home loans, which often feature no down payment, no mortgage insurance and flexible underwriting requirements. And there are various grants, loans and business development programs backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration that can help former military members and budding entrepreneurs.

Veterans can get acquainted with the general benefits available to them on the Veterans Benefits Administration website. Prospective entrepreneurs can begin looking into business financing by checking out the Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development online.

2. Research All of Your Options

That’s not to say veterans should limit themselves to federal loan programs. For instance, when it comes to mortgages, “to be sure, VA loans aren’t the right fit for every veteran,” Chris Birk, a Credit.com contributor and director of education for Veterans United, a VA loan lender, said. “Understanding all of your mortgage options is also key to getting the best deal possible. Even veterans with sterling credit and a 20% down payment would benefit from comparison shopping between conventional and VA loans.”

3. Consider Financial Institutions That Cater to Vets …

If you do decide to go for a VA loan to buy a home, consider finding a mortgage lender who knows the ins and outs of that type of financing.

“VA loan market share has soared over the last decade, but it’s still a niche product for many lenders and real estate professionals,” Birk said. “Working with companies and professionals who know the ins and outs of VA loans can help ensure veterans get the most from this benefit.”

Similarly, you can look into finding a credit card issuer or bank that caters to former and current military members. (We’ve got a list of some of the better military credit cards here to help you get you started on your search.)

And there are several startups, venture capitalist funds and, even, angel investors out there that offer small business financing exclusively to veterans and military members that may prove worthwhile, depending on your financial situation.

4. … But Be Sure to Assess Your Finances Holistically

We say “depending on your financial situation” because it’s important to consider factors beyond your status as a veteran when making money decisions. Take credit cards as an example. Ultimately, the right one for you will be influenced by your current financial situation or goals. For instance, if you’re trying to pay a lot of debt, you might want to look into a balance-transfer credit card. 

The same thing applies when exploring other financing opportunities — just because you’re a veteran doesn’t mean products designed for veterans are going to be the ones that best need your financing needs.

5. Watch Out for Scams

Due to the money challenges some veterans face (often related to spending extended periods of time out of the country or relocating frequently), they often find themselves on a scammer’s radar. That’s why it’s a good idea to vet any business you’re thinking of getting a loan from before filling out applications. You can start by conducting a thorough search online or checking a company’s status with the Better Business Bureau.

6. Brush Up Your Credit

A good credit score can make all types of financing more affordable, so it’s a good idea to see where you stand before applying for a loan. You can get a free credit report snapshot, along with two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com. You can also pull your free credit reports from each of the major consumer credit reporting agencies each year at AnnualCreditReport.com.  

If you need to build credit, you can look into credit-builder loans or secured credit cards, which help people with thin files establish a history of using credit wisely. If you need to improve your credit, you can focus on paying down high credit card balances, disputing credit report errors and limiting applications for new credit, all of which can hurt your credit score.

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Report: 600,000 Veterans Could Go Without Health Insurance Next Year

changes-to-Medicaid

A new Urban Institute report predicts that more than 600,000 veterans will go without health insurance in 2017 unless there are policy changes to the Medicaid program. They point out that more than half of those veterans live in the 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid.

“If Medicaid expansion decisions do not change between now and 2017, we project that approximately 604,000 veterans will be uninsured in 2017 and that 54% will be living in states that have yet to expand Medicaid,” according to the report.

In May 2011, the Urban Institute, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, began studying the effects the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 had on citizens. The findings in the September 2016 report are based off analysis of data from the 2011 – 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 2013 – 2014 American Community Survey (ACS) and U.S. Census Bureau.

The report notes that, even with Medicaid expansion, thousands of veterans are going to be left without a way to pay for medical care, as they all aren’t eligible for care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It estimates that 38% of veterans would become part of the “assistance gap,” meaning they are not in the low-income category that qualifies them for Medicaid, but are making too much money to qualify for federal Obamacare health insurance subsidies. (It’s important to note that Medicaid expansion doesn’t come without costs — states have to figure out a way to pay for it.)

The researchers predict that, while fewer than 1 in 10 uninsured veterans in certain states would qualify for Medicaid in 2017 based on current expansion plans, “a projected 47% would qualify if all 19 states chose to expand.”

How Medical Debt Can Affect You

Medical debt can become a major burden and may even damage your credit, no matter if you’re a veteran, on active duty or a civilian. This can complicate things when it comes time to get a mortgage, take out a loan for a car or even apply for a job (many employers look at a version of your credit report as part of the application process).

If you’re currently laden with medical debt, it’s a good idea to review your bills for any errors, like double charges or other incorrect entries, that may help that number come down. And, while it may be challenging, it’s important to remember that you need to make your bill payments on time to maintain good credit. (You can see how your medical debts are affecting your credit by taking a look at two of your free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com and by getting copies of your free annual credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com.) If you need assistance with paying these bills, consider talking with a professional to see what your options are.

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The Bill That Could Help Veterans’ Credit Scores

veterans_credit_scores

Veterans experiencing credit problems could be in store for some good news. Lawmakers are looking to help ensure veterans’ credit scores don’t get dinged when they have late payments on medical bills.

The Protecting Veterans Credit Act (H.R. 1862), introduced last month by Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) and John Delaney (D-Md.), would provide a 1-year grace period before medical bills for services received through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Choice Program could be reported to the credit reporting agencies.

The bill is in response to the program, created in 2014, which made it possible for veterans to seek medical treatment outside VA clinics because of long wait times, according to TheHill.com. Many complaints have arisen that the VA is slow to make payments to these private doctors, which have reported the outstanding medical debts to credit bureaus, the political news site said.

The VA did not immediately respond to Credit.com’s request for comment on the bill.

The lawmakers say their bill will provide the VA with enough time to make payments on the bills, ensuring veterans’ credit scores aren’t unnecessarily and negatively impacted.

According to TheHill.com, Rep. Delaney said veterans already had to endure long wait times for treatment. “We shouldn’t destroy their finances on top of that,” he reportedly told the website.

Maintaining Your Credit 

Whether you’re a veteran, active military or a civilian, medical debt can ultimately damage your credit. And a low credit score can have a negative impact on your ability to buy a home, take out a car loan or even get a job.

You may be able to mitigate medical bill nightmares by reviewing billing statements closely for double charges, evaluating all the insurance, Medicaid and charity options available, and using your own low-interest credit card to pay for medical bills instead of opening a new account through the hospital (which typically carries high interest rates).

And to maintain good credit in general, it’s important to make your bill payments on time, keep your credit card debt to a minimum and check your credit regularly. You can view two of your credit scores for free, updated monthly, on Credit.com, and get your free annual credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com.

If your credit is looking lackluster, you can generally improve your scores by disputing credit report errors (you can go here to learn how), paying down high credit card balances and limiting new credit inquiries while your score rebounds.

[Offer: Your credit score may be low due to credit errors. If that’s the case, you can tackle your credit reports to improve your credit score with help from Lexington LawLearn more about them here or call them at (844) 346-3296 for a free consultation.]

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