How do I check my VA loan eligibility?
Loans from the Department of Veterans Affairs, commonly known as VA loans, are some of the most attractive home loans out there -- offering the potential for zero down payments and qualification with credit scores as low as 620. If you served in any branch of the U.S. military and separated under any condition that is not dishonorable, you might qualify for a VA loan.
In addition, if you served in the National Guard or Reserves and served active duty for the full period upon which you were called, you might also quality for a VA loan. Active duty service members, as well as the surviving spouses of veterans are also eligible.
What Are the Other Requirements for VA Loan Eligibility?
In addition to having served and not receiving a dishonorable discharge, veterans will need to:
Have “served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty,” or:
Have been “discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty” or:
Have been discharged for a hardship or “early out,” or:
Have served prior to September 7, 1980 (there are different requirements for this group of veterans)
There are multiple other exceptions to this guidelines, so the VA recommends that all veterans apply, just in case they might be eligible.
Getting a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
Before getting a VA loan, you’ll also need to get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which shows lenders that you’re eligible. To get a COE, you’ll need to show evidence of your service, which can vary slightly based on your current status. For example:
Active Duty Servicemembers and Current National Guard or Reserve Members (who have never been in active service) need “a statement of service signed by “the adjutant, personnel officer or commander of your unit or higher headquarters.”
Veterans and Current or Former National Guard or Reserve Members (who have been in active service): “Need DD Form 214, showing the character of service and the narrative reason for separation,and NGB Form 23, Retirement Points Accounting, and proof of the character of service.”
Discharged Members of National Guard (who have never been in active service): Need “NGB Form 22, Report of Separation and Record of Service, for each period of National Guard service, and NGB Form 23, Retirement Points Accounting, and proof of the character of service.”
Discharged Members of Selected Reserve (who have never been in active service): Need “a copy of their annual retirement points statement and evidence of honorable service.”
Surviving Spouses with DIC (Dependency & Indemnity Compensation) benefits: “Need VA form 26-1817 and Veteran’s DD214 (if possible), and also need to include veteran’s and surviving spouse’s social security number on the 26-1817 form.”
Surviving Spouses without DIC benefits: Must submit documents to the appropriate Compensation and Pension office, including:
VA form 21-534
DD214 (if available)
Death Certificate or DD Form 1300 – Report of Casualty
To apply for a COE, you can visit the VA’s online ebenefits portal, apply through your lender, or simply mail in an application to the VA.