Your Guide to VA Mortgage Eligibility
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VA loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and available to active duty members and veterans of the U.S. military, as well as members of the National Guard and surviving spouses. Cadets, in nearly all military branches, also have VA eligibility.
U.S. Public Health Service officers and Department of Defense (DOD) officers can also get their shot at a VA mortgage loan.
VA mortgage loans offer up more forgiving credit qualifications than conventional mortgage loans too. The VA and mortgage lenders who specialize in VA loans, understand the challenges that military families often face with deployment and post-deployment. Occasional credit lapses are forgiven in many cases.
Most veterans must complete a minimum term of qualifying active-duty service to be eligible for a VA loan, though this requirement does have a few exceptions.
The eligibility, in regards to term served, varies based on date served. The breakdown of when you served and how long you served is below.
August 2, 1990 to Now
Must have completed 24 months of continuous service or a full period of at least 90 days during which they were called or ordered to active duty.
September 8, 1980 – August 1, 1990
Must have completed 24 months of continuous service or a full period of at least 181 days of active duty. The beginning date that applies to officers for this requirement is October 17, 1981.
May 8, 1975 – September 7, 1980
Must have completed 181 continuous days of active duty. The ending date that applies to officers for this requirement is October 16, 1981.
August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975
Must have completed 90 days of active duty. The beginning date that applies to veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam for this requirement is February 28, 1961.
February 1, 1955 – August 4, 1964
Must have completed 181 continuous days of active duty.
June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
Veterans who served from June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955 must have completed 90 days of active duty.
You may not have to always meet the eligibility requirements on terms of service. Veterans who were discharged due to hardship, government convenience, reduction-in-force, certain medical conditions or a disability connected to military service can be eligible for a VA loan even if they don’t meet the minimum term of service requirement.
Veterans who were dishonorably discharged are usually not eligible for the VA home loan program although some exceptions may apply.
Eligibility For Those Who Didn’t Serve Active Duty
The VA home loan program is available to non-veterans, too. This eligibility class includes certain active military borrowers, their families, and others.
Some military spouses can be eligible for a VA loan, too.
If the serviceperson to whom the spouse is married is alive, the spouse can be eligible if the serviceperson has been officially declared missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW) for at least 90 days. This eligibility is limited to one-time use.
If the serviceperson to whom the spouse was married has died, the surviving spouse can be eligible if he or she hasn’t remarried and other requirements are met.
Sorry kids, just because Mom or Dad served doesn’t mean you are also eligible.
Our National Guard and Reservists
Members of the National Guard and Reserves can be eligible for VA loans if they have completed six years of service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard.
Those who continue to serve in the Selected Reserve or were honorably discharged, placed on the retired list or transferred after honorable service to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve, may also be eligible.
Other People Eligible for VA Loans
Individuals who have completed service with certain federal government organizations also can be eligible for VA loans.
Examples include cadets at the U.S. Military, Air Force or Coast Guard Academy, midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, World War II merchant seamen, U.S. Public Health Service officers and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration officers.
Bottom line, if you served – in one of many capacities – you could be eligible for VA financing. VA home loans are one of the best mortgage financing options available.
If you think you might qualify you should absolutely check with your mortgage lender to make sure you don’t miss out on one of the most affordable mortgage products on the market.
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