Who Can Get a VA Home Loan?
June 08, 2011 By Joe Wallace 3 Comments
When discussing VA home loans, it’s easy to assume the benefit is for active duty service members only, but in reality there are a lot of people who can apply for VA loan eligibility. While it’s true that active duty members who have served two years or more (unless enlistment happened in 1980 or 1981, then different rules apply depending on whether the member was officer or enlisted) are eligible to apply, there are also rules for those serving in the Selected Reserves, National Guard, and even some civilians.
Anyone who has served at least six years in the Guard or Reserves is eligible to apply for VA loan eligibility provided they are either still serving, got an honorable discharge, or were transferred to Standby Reserve status or Ready Reserves.
Those who served less than six years in the Guard or Reserve may be eligible for a VA loan if they were discharged for a service-related disability.
VA rules also allow cadets at United States Military Academies to apply for VA loan eligibility. Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or midshipmen at the Naval Academies can apply. The same is true
for officers at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
There are also some non-military members who may be eligible for the VA home loan program. VA regulations permit some members of the Public Health Service and other public organizations to apply. Un-remarried spouses of military veterans who died in service or from a service-related disability (as recognized by the VA) can apply for eligibility, as can the spouse of any service member declared missing in action or a prisoner of war.
The VA official site also adds an important benefit for surviving spouses of those who died in the service or as a result of service. “…A surviving spouse who obtained a VA home loan with the veteran prior to his or her death (regardless of the cause of death), may obtain a VA guaranteed interest rate reduction refinance loan.” More information on this benefit is available at the VA’s Winston-Salem Eligibility Center.
About Joe Wallace
Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association.