VA loans

Decoding Military Jargon in VA Loan Rules

August 24, 2010

Decoding Military Jargon in VA Loan Rules

Yesterday I posted about VA loans, who is eligible to apply for them, and when.

The Department of Veterans Affairs lists the eligibility dates for veterans by classifying them in and around major conflicts–World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War. But there’s a lot of jargon in that list and I thought it would be helpful to explain some of the terms for those not used to seeing them day in and day out.

For example, the VA has a requirement for veterans of World War II—in order to be eligible for a VA home loan, these vets must have a “discharge under other than dishonorable conditions”. What does that mean?

In plain English, you can have any discharge classification as long as it is not “dishonorable”. That would make vets who were given medical discharges, administrative separations, or an “Other Than Honorable discharge” a chance to apply for a VA mortgage. An Other Than Honorable discharge is an actual classification of discharge, rather than a blanket statement.

One of the phrases you find in the VA eligibility requirements is “continuous service”. When the VA requires “180 days continuous active duty service” this refers to how many consecutive days are served on active duty without interruption.

A reservist, for example, could for the sake of our example serve for three months on active duty, go back home for six months, and get called back to serve three more months on active duty. But when it comes time to add up that reservist’s continuous service, the six months have NOT been served consecutively, and therefore would not count as 180 days of continuous service.

Some vets are eligible for VA loans even though they didn’t complete the required time-in-service periods. This is often the case for those who leave military service with a service-connected disability. The phrase “service-connected” means a disability officially classified by the VA as service-connected. The mere existence of a disability isn’t enough to qualify—the government must evaluate and recognize the medical issue as a genuine service-related problem.

These are just some of the military terms found in VA documents…I’ll post more definitions in another blog post.

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