Don’t end up owing Uncle Sam: Recover money for medical bills, lost wages

By Daniel A. Lauretano, Supervisory Attorney Advisor, Chief, Claims Division, OSJA

Federal and Army regulations require Soldiers and their family members to furnish complete, accurate and timely information regarding the facts and circumstances surrounding any incident where they receive medical treatment because of the fault of another.

If you have received treatment at a military treatement facility or civilian hospital and the medical expenses were paid for by the government (Tricare), you must notify the MTF or Tricare so they can coordinate with the Fort Meade Claims Office. Through the Fort Meade Claims Office, the U.S. government has the right to recover from third parties and their insurance policies for the reasonable value of the medical care.

This also includes the total amount of the Soldier’s pay (accrued and owing) if the Soldier is unable to perform his or her duties as a result of the injury or disease.

Detailed information related to the incident is usually provided on DD Form 2527, Statement of Personal Injury-Possible Third Party Liability.

Critical details are needed by the Fort Meade Claims Office to ensure the proper office is handling and recovery of costs of treatment provided are asserted within the statute of limitations.

Information must include: date of incident, location of incident, type of incident (such as motor vehicle accident), medical facilities visited, insurance information, and full name and address of the the patient’s attorney.

If the Soldier was serving on active duty during the incident and it caused the Soldier to remain away from work, it is important to indicate so and fill out the certification statement of military service lost.

By providing this information, the Fort Meade Claims Office can also properly assert and timely recover for the government the cost of the service member’s lost wages.

If the service members is represented by an attorney for the incident, the Fort Meade’s Claims Office is required to deal directly with the lawyer.

It is important to remember that before settling your case, you or your attorney must ensure that the amount due to the U.S. government (cost of medical treatment and lost wages for active-duty Soldiers) is first satisfied. Otherwise, you may receive a bill from the government.

Questions should be referred to the Claims Division, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 4217 Roberts Ave., or call 301-677-9960.

Editor’s note: The Fort Meade Joint Installation Tax Center is open through April 17 for tax assistance and electronic filing. Appointments are recommended.

For information, call the Tax Center at 301-677-9366.

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