Who is eligible to receive a VA loan?
If you’ve served in the armed forces, you’re sure to have seen lists of benefits in which veterans are entitled. Perhaps the biggest benefit of being a veteran is the VA loan. Whether you’re active duty, a service veteran, a surviving spouse or even, in some cases a civilian, you may be eligible for a VA loan. In all cases, the VA has specific requirements that must be met before a veteran is considered eligible.
Active duty military, veterans, surviving spouses, and in some instances civilians are eligible for a VA loan. VA loans have requirements the veteran must fulfill before they can be considered eligible.
For National Guard and Reserves Members
Those serving in the National Guard or the Reserves have a minimum six-year duty requirement. The six years must be completed before the service member can apply for a VA loan. Individuals who completed less than six years may be eligible if discharged for a service-connected disability.
For Active Duty
If you are now on regular duty (not active duty for training), you are eligible after having served 181 days (90 days during the Gulf War), unless discharged or separated from a previous qualifying period of active duty service.
For Retired Veterans
Those who are retired veterans you must have served at least 181 days (90 days during the Gulf War) of active duty, and must have an honorable discharge. If you served less than 90 days, you might be eligible if discharged for a service-connected disability.
You may be eligible if you are a surviving spouse who remarries on or after attaining age 57, and on or after December 16, 2003.
You may also be determined eligible if you are
• A spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability, who has not remarried
• Are a spouse of a service person missing in action or a prisoner of war
To find out more, VA Home Loan Specialists are standing by to take your call 888-573-4496
Additional VA Eligibility Information
If you’re a veteran wanting to purchase a primary residence, your requirements are surprisingly few. Sufficient credit, income, and employment can help you to purchase without a required down payment on the price of the home, just as long as the sale price doesn’t exceed the home’s appraised value.
There are many other advantages to having a VA loan for veterans who are ready to purchase a home. These include:
• VA home loans are assumable, as long as the person who is assuming the loan is qualified
• The Veterans Administration limits closing costs on the loan, so you won’t be asked to pay more than what is a fair price
• The VA is ready to assist you if you’re having problems making your loan payments
• You can always prepay a VA home loan with paying a penalty
So, who is eligible for a VA loan? Eligibility for VA financing is available to veterans who served in a recognized branch of the armed forces for at least 90 days (or less if discharged for a service-related disability) in the following service categories:
• World War II
• Korean Conflict
• Vietnam Era
• Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 to present)
Any veteran who was discharged under honorable conditions and gave at least 90 days of service which started prior to September of 1980. The veteran must have served at least 24 months of service.
Known as the “Two-Year Requirement,” if you enlisted after September 7th, 1980 (with active service on or after that date), OR were an officer and your service began after October 16th, 1981, you must have successfully completed either:
• Two years of continuous service or more, OR
• The full period for which ordered to active duty, for 90 days minimum(any part during congressionally declared war) or 181 continuous days (peacetime).
For veterans who served during peacetime, you must have served for at least 181 days and received an honorable discharge. You may have served less if you were discharged for a service-related disability.
If you’re currently on active duty, you’re eligible after serving for at least 90 days. And, if you’re a member of the Reserves or National Guard and have at least six years of service with an honorable discharge or have retired, you’re eligible for a GI loan.
There is a variety of other exceptions available, having to do with medical conditions and hardships, that might make you eligible to apply. The VA will be happy to provide you with a complete listing of eligibility.
Surviving spouses of active military veterans can also apply for a VA home loan. You’ll need to be an un-remarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability. You can also apply if you’re a spouse of a service person who is a prisoner of war (P.O.W.) or is missing in action (M.I.A.).
If the process seems a bit difficult, here’s some good news. If you need assistance determining your eligibility, or to apply for a VA home loan, you’ll find information and assistance at the VA Home Loan Centers.
What is the VA looking for in veterans applying for a loan? First, they’re looking for a good credit score. It doesn’t have to be “great” – just good. They’ll be looking in particular at the last 12 months to be sure you’ve made your payments on time. Some lenders require a minimum credit score, which varies by lender.
They’ll also want to make sure you can pay your mortgage and have enough income to pay your other bills. Depending on your family size and your location, they will determine your minimum requirements for loan approval.
The VA prefers that you are employed for two consecutive years. There are some instances where they’ll waive the two-year requirement, but it requires documentation and support as to why you have not been steadily employed for those two years.
Finally, if you’ve had a bankruptcy, the VA requires that you wait two years after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge or one year after filing a chapter 13 discharge. In addition, they require that there are no late payments in paying off your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
If you’re eligible for a VA loan, you may want to consider using it to refinance your existing mortgage. There are two types of VA refinances available: a Streamline refinance, for those who have a VA loan and are looking to lower their rates, and a Cashout Refinance for homeowners who want to take cash out to pay off debt or consolidate mortgages.
Remember, if you’d like more information, or assistance with applying for a VA loan the professionals at VA Home Loan Centers are ready to help.