Saturday, March 21, 2009

DFAS fight part 3

This is the latest letter I sent to the collection agency that has been harassing me for most of a year. I have tried reaching out to negotiate, discuss, appeal, talk, whatever, and am flatly ignored. I received no response whatsoever from these people except an increase of phone harassment.

If there is anyone willing to help me erase this illegitimate debt and clear my credit record... please contact me.

Thank you.



Sunday, November 30, 2008
Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP
Attorneys at Law
1301 Travis St. Suite 210
Houston, TX 77002

Dear Ms. Cummings,

I have received your mail regarding the alleged debt owed to DFAS (account: 200717xxxxx) and would like to take this time to respond to your request for full payment. I have sent this letter previously with no acknowledgement nor action on your part on Sept. 14, 2008. This is an illegitimate debt. Understanding that your agency has been employed merely to recover this debt, I believe that you should know some its pertinent history. I have also chosen to write you this letter because I have been given no legitimate method for contacting anyone from the DFAS offices in order to rectify this situation; from the beginning until now.

I originally signed my Army contract for a 5 year deal with an $11000 bonus to be received over the length of that time. Near the end of my first contract, after returning from a year deployment to Iraq, I was coerced into re-enlisting for 4 years to be re-classed. I say ‘coerced’ because I was threatened by my commanding officer to be discharged within 72 hours while in Germany simply because while I was in Iraq, my wife at the time neglected my children and was sent back to the States. Having custody of my children in Germany without the hospices of the Army would have made it impossible for me to live. I was in a difficult position; I was unable to provide a valid Family Care Plan due to the antics of my ex-wife, and was being threatened by my commanding officer to lose my Army career. I opted to re-enlist to bide some time. That e-enlistment contract had no bonus, no options. I was told by several officers and the retention NCOIC that this contract fully negated the first.After verbally verifying how the contracts worked, I was accepting that the final two bonus payments from the first contract would not be paid. That is what official representatives of the US Army guaranteed me.

I took leave back to the States and tied to set up housing for my follow up assignment to Fort Gordon, GA. Because of my Family Care Plan (FCP) situation, they didn’t want me to show up. They provided no aid for me to find housing or getting my children set up at school. The duty shifts would have made it impossible for me to parent my children. I looked for alternate assignments but still found none that I could successfully do. All because I have no available family for the FCP. I did my best to continue my career in the Army, I loved being in the Army. But I was squeezed out due to the lack of an FCP. The paperwork says I was discharged on hardship, which in a way is true but not wholly accurate.

I received bills shortly after my discharge with extremely inflated erroneous amounts. I tried calling the phone numbers provided but was not met with any account rep that could help me resolve these issues. No, instead I was met with just a bill collector who didn’t care about issues, just when I would pay the debt back. Knowing there had to be some mistake, I ignored it for a while hoping that DFAS would catch there errors or that it was just a paperwork tangle. They didn’t.

The only avenue I found was to appeal to my local politicians who requested nothing more that the debt be looked into. Well, DFAS found some glaring errors in their accounting but I could still get no-one to listen to my situation to resolve the source of the debt. After a year and several attempts to appeal through politicians, I still have no voice.

I came across a DFAS hotline for veterans that were having debt problems upon discharge. This hotline was established by the VA, I believe because of the wide proliferation of these repayment requests. I talked to a very helpful SFC Shannon who provided me with a DFAS phone number. That phone number eventually went to a voicemail box that played a “mailbox full” message before hanging up. After a month or more of that, the message stopped playing and I was disconnected after a few rings. DFAS has never provided me, or apparently anyone else, a way to resolve these situations!

I tried for months to find a lawyer to help me but none would accept a case against the government because “nobody wins against the government”. So much for integrity. Then I found a local lawyer who happened to be former National Guard. He did me the favor of reviewing my case and pointing me to the regs that DFAS is operating under. He understands my position and believes that my case is significant and not that unique. I know a few other former soldiers and marines that have been tapped by DFAS after a discharge, but they gave up the fight and somehow found enough money to pay the debt and move on. My lawyer is unwilling, though, to handle debt law, so now I stand alone once again looking for a reasonable and fair resolution.

Sincerely yours,

Dean Michael Dorman
(formerly a proud veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom III)

DFAS fight part 2

To give a more complete picture, I will post 2 more letters written during this struggle. There is a pile of documents that pertain to my efforts that I will not post here. I am just trying to provide a complete picture as concisely as possible.

What follows to one of the initial collection agencies.

Thank you for your interest.


August 15, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

I dispute the validity of the debt trying to be collected from me by your agency. DFAS
has been attempting to collect this bogus debt from me without allowing me voice to
dispute it directly with them. I have been going through proper channels for months to
dispute this debt, to have it corrected and therefore eliminated. My credit is now
ruined from their exploits and I face being continuously victimized without recourse.
They cannot prove the source or validity of this debt. They have mistaken the two
enlistment contracts that I had signed. The following should explain my situation
further. I wish for the elimination of these illegal collection proceedings at the source,
but they refuse to listen. My credit should not continue to suffer as I appeal.

I served in the United States Army from 23 Sep 02 to Nov 06. Since February of this
year, I have received letters from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service claiming
that I am indebted to them for fees ranging from $7091.11 to $1367.84.
The letter sent to me on February 2, 2007 stated that it was a ‘bns recoupment for the
unearned portion of your enlistment or reenlistment bonus based on your separation
code of KDG. Your enlistment contract obligated you to perform duty through
07/05/2010 and at separation you had 1324 unserved days. . .’ Succeeding letters
stated the same repayment reasons yet the amount of repayment changed.
They are as follows: 02 FEB07 from DFAS of $6668.18
05 MAR 07 from DFAS $1321.51 (letter accompanying this ‘debt
amount’ stated that ‘the principal debt amount of $6668.18 . . .
has been decreased . . . due to an error in auditing’)
05 MAR 07 from DFAS $6690.92
07 MAY 07 from DFAS $1348.33
07 JULY 07 from Collection agency $1367.84

Further explaining my situation, my original enlistment date was 23 Sep 02 for a period
of 5 years. In July of 2006, I reenlisted for another 4 years and waived a reenlistment
bonus as noted in section I4b on my Request For Reenlistment or Extension in The
Regular Army and on the Enlistment/Reenlistment Document (copies enclosed) section
Bb2 where it states ‘no bonus entitlement’. Although my intent was to remain in the
Army until 2010, while in Iraq my family situation deteriorated outside my control and I
was left a single father. Before returning to CONUS, the commander and SGM
repeatedly threatened to discharge me due to an unworkable Family Care Plan.
OCONUS discharges on that basis are 72 hours which would have left me in complete
disarray. So I tried to make it work with a follow‐up assignment in CONUS but with my
family situation I was unable to successfully report. Although my intent was to remain
in the Army, I was unable to provide a Family Care Plan and on 01 NOV 06, I was
honorably discharged from the Army.

You can imagine my confusion upon seeing these notices. The accounting
practices are nothing less than suspect. I left the Army due to family hardship and had
no knowledge of any type of repayment for any monies received. It was repeatedly
asked of me if I had any bonuses related to the reenlistment contract because if I did
then I would be bound to pay back that money. As you can see, there were no bonuses
included in the reenlistment contract. The response letter to the last appeal takes the
stance that an agent of their organization, specifically the Re‐enlistment NCOIC,
misrepresented herself purposely by telling me that the original contract is fulfilled and
moot upon re‐enlistment. It is my understanding that as an assigned and official
representative of the US Army, it is their legal responsibility to maintain and assure
accuracy. The terms of the re‐enlistment cannot be changed after‐the‐fact with the
disregard of the agreed upon terms. Misrepresentation is fraud and voids the contract

In summary, after signing my reenlistment contract on 06 JUL 06, it was
understood that the original enlistment obligations signed in 2002, were fulfilled and
the new reenlistment contract with no bonus would override any previous contractual
obligation. Under this circumstance, I do not owe any money to the United States Army
for the days claimed to be ‘unserved’. The remaining days served, the original
enlistment bonus money, and any other perk or obligation, was superseded by the new
contract and thus I was to not be bound to them. For instance, when I signed the new
contract the remaining days unserved were not added on to the new but rather were
eliminated. Since I was no longer legally bound to the original enlistment contract,
there can be no fees applied to me in relationship to that document. What this debt fails
to consider is that I cannot be bound to two contracts at once. The fact that this debt
had initially been misconstrued; upon DFAS realizing there was an error they re‐
miscalculated the imaginary debt 5 times in the past 6 months. This indicates to me
that this is not my problem, error or debt.

Also unjust and in violation of contractual parameters is the idea of being ‘pro‐
rated’ for bonus payments as a convenient way to collect payment from me. NOWHERE
in my contracts does it state the method of pro‐rating payments to me or as a method
of delivering the bonus money to me. The money came in lump sums and was never
directly attributed to a per diem scenario. My point is that after I signed the second
contract and therefore completing the first, nullifying the bonus payments and time
remaining on the first, I was not to receive the remaining lump payments of money from

What I am requesting is to be exonerated of DFAS’s accounting error and the
integrity of my credit restored. After speaking with the staff at the Carlisle Barracks, it
was explained to me that maybe the code of my discharge was incorrect. However,
regardless of what my discharge code is or was, I remain bound under the 2nd and final
contract which states a waiver of any bonus. How can I repay something that I never
received or existed? I proudly served in the Army for almost 4 years; 12 months of
which I served in Iraq. I am desperately trying to hold on to that respect and pride now
as I am victimized by the very country to which I committed years of my life in service.

Very Respectfully,

(SPC) Dean Michael Dorman

Friday, March 20, 2009

An open letter for assistance in a fight against DFAS

I am still being persecuted by DFAS and collection agencies working for them. DFAS for those that do not know is the government's financial wing for the military. I need a politician or attorney brave enough to help out a veteran by standing up to these thugs on my behalf. The debt they claim I owe is not large in the perspective of a new car or national Debt, but it is more than I can comfortably pay and a debt that I should not owe.

My story follows, originally posted to the Black Sheep Books mailing list.

Hello All,

Walter summed up my situation pretty accurately but I feel compelled to just introduce myself by giving the story a complete view. It is not pleasant for me to recount these things. But, here it goes....

In 2003 I joined the Army just barely making the age requirement. I was a good soldier throughout my career, never getting as much as a negative counseling statement or told to shine my boots. I did PT on par with the 20 year olds. I had pride.

When we were given orders to deploy to Iraq for the year 2005, I prepared my home life as wisely as I could. Euphemistically, I had a contentious marriage to a woman that never quite became a mother to my children. At the warnings of the Army, I protected my money, thankfully, because almost immediately after I shipped out from Germany, my kids were neglected. At the time my son was 12 and my daughter 8 so they had a fighting chance of taking care of themselves but their school attendance languished, prepared meals were fewer and farther between, and the apartment was not maintained. I was also abandoned by this woman.

I came home on R&R 7 months later to find my apartment hip-high in garbage with a path worn into the filth on the linoleum floors where my 2 dogs paced for exercise. My children acted like zombies out of the confusion of what they had experienced. I found out that their mother had been having an affair with the married couple upstairs. That was the end. My R&R then consisted of disassembling my family to fly them back to the States. Fortunately my elderly parents were able to care for my children while I returned to Iraq.

She gave me custody of the children, knowing that she could never parent them again. They came back to me when I returned to Germany but I was facing another difficult change. My unit was deactivating and it was a mad scramble to find follow-up orders for everyone. The short version of this is that I was railroaded away from my support system in Germany and into taking orders in Georgia that would ultimately impossible for me to take. I had no Family Care Plan and no one to care for my children in any situation if I returned to Georgia. I fought to stay in Germany but was denied. Part of the follow-up assignment was a mandatory re-classing and thus a re-enlistment. I reluctantly signed up for 4 more years.

Upon returning stateside, I found that the schooling in GA would be impossible for me as a single father. The Powers-That-Be at Ft. Gordon didn't care and provided me no assistance so I turned to the local Chaplain at Carlisle Barracks, PA. I was processed out in 2 months. Then the letters from DFAS started.

I had an $11000 bonus on my first contract of which I received $9K or $10K over the 3.5 years I served. I was told by everyone involved in my former unit that re-enlisting 'completes' or 'negates' the previous contract so that any 'deals', bonuses, choices of duty stations, etc, would not be valid upon the onset of the new contract. Even the time remaining on the first contract would be moot. I originally signed for 5 years leaving 18 months on the first contract. I was assured that when I signed that second contract for 4 years and no bonuses that I would serve just those 4 years and receive no further bonuses.

That is not what DFAS tried to get me to believe. Their accounting was flawed from the start as they told me I owed them almost $9000. They creatively prorated my bonus from my first contract's start date to my second contract's end date. I protested and sought help of my State Representatives and Senators. The accounting and debt was changed each time as they found 'errors' but never relinquished the claim that I owed them. I recently was able to find a lawyer that would take my case since many refused on the simple basis that they would be fighting the government. The frequent calls from the debt collection agencies are harassing and unstoppable.

My credit has now been seriously impacted due to DFAS. They have given me no recourse as they refuse to hear my case directly. This situation was not precipitated by any culpable act of my own but yet I am persecuted for doing the noble, right things. I am looking for any help to have this debt and the blemish on my credit erased.

I appreciate your consideration for my situation and any aid that anyone can give.

Thank you,

Dean Michael Dorman