Who Has VA Home Loan Eligibility?
The VA Home Loan is an incredible benefit available exclusively to military families and veterans. Many military families don’t take advantage of this loan simply because they don’t know they’re eligible. The Department of Veterans Affairs has laid out very specific VA Home Loan eligibility requirements. In addition to active-duty members and veterans, there are a few distinct groups that are also eligible.
After WW2 our government created the VA loan as a benefit for our heroes. The benefits are unparalleled by any other loan product on the market. Because of this, millions of military families have taken advantage of them over the years. Once you know you’re eligible you can begin your journey to owning your dream home and take advantage of the hard-earned benefits you deserve.
Veterans & Active Duty
You may be eligible for a VA Home Loan if you are a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard and served between September 15, 1940 and present day. The amount of time you had to have served between then and now varies from 90 total days to 181 days. As a general rule, if you served on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days during war time or 181 consecutive days during peacetime and completed a 2 year term, you are likely good to go.
Some veterans who were discharged before serving that full term will believe they are ineligible. However, if you were discharged due to service-related injuries, you may also be able to take advantage of the VA Loan.
Reserves & National Guard
The VA Home Loan is a well-known benefit for active duty military members and veterans, but many don’t know some members of the Reserves and National Guard are also eligible. The loan benefits are the same, but the requirements differ from active duty. According to the VA, to qualify you must have completed 6 years honorably in the Reserves or National Guard.
You may also be eligible if you were activated on Title 10 orders for at least 90 consecutive days. Similar to members of active duty, if you were discharged due to service-related injuries you may also be eligible.
Surviving Military Spouse
Another way to qualify for a VA Home Loan is if you are a surviving military spouse. Your spouse gave their life to protect this great nation. Because of that, the VA Home Loan and other benefits may be extended to you.
There are two ways to qualify as a military spouse. One way is if you are an un-remarried spouse of a veteran who died while serving or from a service-connected disability. Another way is if you are the spouse of a military member who is a POW (prisoner of war) or MIA (missing in action).
What if I was discharged prior to the 2 year requirement?
There is a possibility you can be eligible for the VA Home Loan even if you did not meet the minimum service requirements. You may be eligible if you were discharged due to one of the following circumstances:
- Service-related disability
- Certain medical conditions
- Reduction in force
- Government convenience
If you think you may still be eligible for the great benefits the VA Loan provides, we recommend reaching out to a VA approved lender for more information.
Are There Other Ways to Get a COE?
Last, but certainly not least, you may be eligible to get your certificate of eligibility if you meet a few very specific requirements. According to the VA, at least one of these must be true:
- U.S. citizen who served in the Armed Forces of a government allied with the United States in WW2, or
- Served as a member in certain organizations such as:
- Public health service officer
- Cadet at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy
- Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy
- Officer of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
- Merchant seaman during WW2
I Meet the Requirements for VA Home Loan Eligibility- Now What?
Once you are sure you meet the VA Home Loan eligibility requirements, it’s time to apply for your certificate of eligibility (COE). Your COE proves that you’re able to use these benefits. It is the document your bank or lender will need during the homebuying process. This document comes directly from the Department of Veteran Affairs and is proof that the veteran meets eligibility requirements. You can request this from the VA website or by working with a VA approved bank or lender.
In order to apply for your COE, you will need specific government documents. For veterans and current or former activated National Guard or Reserves members you’ll need the DD Form 214 (which is a report of separation). For members of active duty or current National Guard or Reserves members that were never activated, you’ll need your Statement of Service. If you don’t fall within these categories, you may need other forms. The VA’s website or a VA approved lender is your best resource in determining what you need.
Tools & Benefits of Working with MHS Lending
The VA Loan process can feel complicated and daunting. Our team at MHS Lending are experts in working with military families and the VA Loan process. We want you to feel confident in your home buying journey. We created a completely free VA Home Loan Seminar. This online, interactive, and easy to use course breaks down the entire process so you can have peace of mind and confidence when purchasing your home.
Amy was serving in the Navy in 2017 and was wanting to purchase a new home but was dreading the process. She reached out to MHS Lending and immediately felt confident in her home buying journey. Her review says it all:
“Working with MHS Lending was the most amazing experience. From attending their seminar all the way to after purchasing a home, they have been professional and kind in all aspects. I thought buying a home was going to be so stressful that I was going to constantly go to their office but that was not the case. They were immediately available for any questions or concerns and I am in love with my new home!”
The benefits of the VA Loan are incredibly powerful. They range from a $0 down payment and no private mortgage insurance to relaxed credit scores and competitive loan interest rates. Buying a home as a military member or veteran with the VA Home Loan can be a much more affordable option. If you think you’re eligible for a VA Home Loan and would like to start your home buying journey today, contact Military Home Spot Lending today!