The GI Bill of Rights, signed into law in 1944 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, did a lot for this nation’s economy in the post-World War II era. One facet of the GI Bill was the Veteran’s Administration Loan, which enabled many servicemen and their families to realize the dream of home ownership.
The VA Loan program continues today, helping veterans obtain mortgage loans. So how do you know if you are eligible for a VA home loan?
The first thing you need to do is to fill out VA Form 26-1880, which is the request to the Veterans Administration to learn whether or not you qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility. This is the essential first step in applying for the loan. Typically, veterans, activity duty, guard, or reserve members qualify, along with military spouses may qualify for this type of loan. Be aware, though, that even if you receive a Certificate of Eligibility, this doesn’t mean your loan will be approved.
On What Does the VA Base Eligibility?
Whether or not you are eligible for the certificate will depend on you or your spouse’s military service. Congress has pretty strict guidelines for this, and there are several categories of those who will generally qualify for the certificate:
- Wartime service for at least 90 days on active duty and discharge under “other than dishonorable” conditions for World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
- Specific peacetime service (up until 1981) for at least 181 days of continuous active duty and discharge under “other than dishonorable” conditions
- Service after 9/7/1980 (enlisted) or 10/16/1981 (officer) for at least 181 days of continuous active duty and discharge under “other than dishonorable” conditions (other restrictions may also apply here)
- Gulf War service from 1990 to date that is still to be determined
- Active duty service personnel
- Selected Reserves or National Guard
You might also qualify as eligible if you are a spouse of a veteran who died while either in the service or from a disability connected with the service, and you have not remarried. The same might hold true if your spouse went missing in action or is a prisoner of war.
In addition, eligibility might be granted for certain U.S. citizens who service with the armed forces of a government that was allied with the United States during World War II. Also, individuals who are service members in certain organizations, such as Public Health Service officers, cadets at the U.S. Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy, midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, officers of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, merchant seaman with World War II service, and others.
For more information on whether or not you might qualify for a VA loan, visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/purchaseco_eligibility.asp.