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VA Loans: Who Else Can Qualify For One Besides Veterans?

In a recent blog post we discussed applying for VA loan eligibility and how it can be done through the lender. Active duty military, retired and separated military, plus members of the National Guard and Reserve who meet the time in service and/or discharge requirements may all apply for VA loan eligibility. This can be done online, by mail or even with the lender’s help.

But is there anyone else who is qualified to apply for VA home loan benefits? Can surviving spouses of veterans or the children of veterans also apply to use this benefit?

At the time of this writing, current legislation does not permit children of veterans alive or dead to apply for a VA home loan. There have been many changes to VA benefits including allowing spouses of veterans to use the G.I. Bill in some cases, and it’s entirely possible that at one point somewhere down the road the government may decide to explore allowing a veteran’s children this option. But under the current rules it is not permitted.

Surviving spouses of a deceased veteran may apply for a VA home loan under specific circumstances as spelled out in VA regulations. According to, “The unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran who died on active duty or as the result of a service-connected disability is eligible for the home loan benefit.” Additionally, the VA allows a spouse to apply for a VA refinancing loan if he or she had a VA loan with the deceased veteran previously. (This is allowed regardless of the cause of the veteran’s death).

At the time of this writing, some spouses may believe they can apply for a VA loan using the “age 57 rule” which states, “…a surviving spouse who remarries on or after attaining age 57, and on or after December 16, 2003, may be eligible for the home loan benefit.”

But it’s important to note that there’s a limitation on that rule for some applicants. “…a surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, must apply no later than December 15, 2004, to establish home loan eligibility. VA must deny applications from surviving spouses who remarried before December 16, 2003 that are received after December 15, 2004.

Surviving spouses who wish to apply for VA loan eligibility should contact the VA Winston-Salem Eligibility Center for more information.

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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.

63 Responses to VA Loans: Who Else Can Qualify For One Besides Veterans?

  1. Pingback: VA Loans: Who Else Can Qualify For One Besides Veterans? · Fincance Articles, Tutorials and Much More

  2. I am a child of vetran from 1945 to 1962, He was in the Navy and foight in the korean war, My question is, Can his children use his va loan to purchase a home, or go back to School ECT,

    Sincerly, Melinda Herrera

  3. Eve says:

    I was wondering how VA loans work. My husband is entitled to a VA loan but has not had an income of his own in the last 2 year.We have filed out taxes jointly. Would I qualify as a co-signer or some thing similar since I am the one who has been the head of household income wise? Or would we have to wait for him to have an income for the next 2 years or so??

    • Joe Wallace says:

      The VA is required to verify employment as part of the VA loan process. Your best chance for VA loan approval would come when you apply when your husband is employed once more. The VA does allow spouse income to be counted as long as the spouse is a co-signer on the loan, but the employment issue is an important one, as the VA is required to verify employment and income that is “likely to continue”.

  4. Barbara Toledo says:

    I was in the military from 1990-1993 active and served during desert storm. I am now married and my current husband is not prior military and pays a mortgage on an existing loan. My question is: Can he put the home in my name and I refinance it with a VA loan?
    Thank you,

    • Joe Wallace says:

      Borrowers not obligated on the original loan might consider assuming the original loan before applying for VA refinancing. From the VA official site:

      “Other refinancing loans are:

      • construction loans,
      • installment land sale contracts, and
      • loans assumed by veterans at interest rates higher than that for the proposed refinance.

      b. Maximum Loan These loans may not exceed the lesser of:

      • the VA reasonable value plus the VA funding fee, or
      • the sum of the outstanding balance of the loan to be refinanced plus allowable closing costs (including the funding fee) and discounts.

      The cost of energy efficiency improvements can also be added to the loan.”

      “May a veteran join with a nonveteran in obtaining a VA loan?
      Yes, but the guaranty is based only on the veteran’s portion of the loan. The guaranty cannot cover the nonveteran’s part of the loan. This does not apply to a loan to a veteran and spouse when the spouse is not a veteran. (Consult lenders to determine whether they would be willing to accept applications for joint loans of this type.)”

  5. Melissa says:

    I have a question. My husband is active duty military and we’ve been married 10yrs.Now we are separated.Would i be able to apply for a VA loan or would he have to?

    Thank You

    • Joe Wallace says:

      The VA loan benefit requires a certificate of eligibility, which is provided to the veteran. The veteran would have to agree to be included on the loan in the situation you describe.

  6. Patricia Oramas says:

    I would like to know if i can apply for a VAloan as a spouse jointly with my husband. He is in the reserve but he does not have the credit score required for VA loan and i do.

    • Joe Wallace says:

      You can both apply on the same VA loan application but both applicants must have a credit score that meets the lender’s minimum standards–which may vary from lender to lender.

  7. ana sosa says:

    Hi I was married to a veterans he passed away on 3-31-2010 I will like to know if I can transfer my v.a loand to my daughter or can I use my v.a. loand and add my daughter witch she’s the veterans dependent child that gets benifits from her dad

    • Joe Wallace says:

      If you have an existing VA loan you could explore the option of doing a VA loan assumption with any qualified party, but you’ll need to discuss the loan assumption with your loan officer. It is possible under the right circumstances.

  8. Bill says:

    I am honorably discharged, but only served 15 months on active duty. Does being in the ready reserve count towards qualifing for a VA loan ?

    • Joe Wallace says:

      The answer to this question might depend on a great many things. The VA may be able to make an exception to the 24 month rule if you were discharged for the convenience of the government, were affected by drawdown policies or other measures. It’s best to contact the VA directly to discuss your specific situation in this case–call them at 1-800 827-1000.

  9. Michael says:

    My wife and I are both active duty. We are separated, pending divorce, but still legally married. She has applied for a loan on her certificate. I have already signed a document with the title agency stating I hold no interest or stake in the house. Now her lender is telling her that the VA requires MY debts and liabilities to be listed on her application.

    I am not cosigning. I will not be living in the house. I know that, by VA rules, my income does not count for loan determination. She is not a party to any of my existing debt. Does the lender, or VA, actually need my debts, liabilities and credit record for HER to get approved?

  10. Terrell Jay says:

    My father is veteran And I was wondering as a non-veteran could I qualify for a V.A. Loan for a home.

    • Joe Wallace says:

      Only the veteran is able to apply for a VA mortgage–a veteran and spouse can also apply, but if you’re not eligible for a VA loan personally, the only way you can apply is with an eligible military member or veteran.

  11. Viola Jackson says:

    I was discharged from the US Navy In 1964 and previously applied for
    a certificate for a VA loan which I received about 10 years ago I never used it. How do I go about getting a replacement?

  12. I have my VA Loan eligibility certificate. I have never used my VA Loan. Can I use the VA Loan with my son?

  13. Stefanie says:

    I am the daughter of a deceased Veteran he was 100% disable before his death are there any benefits that i can use I am 31 years old.

  14. Kimberly says:


    I took out a VA loan while single, however, I plan to marry in August of 2014. If I passed before my spouse, will she still be allowed to live in the house?

    • Joe Wallace says:

      That may depend on the laws of your state–it’s best to discuss your needs with an estate lawyer or someone qualified to talk about state laws governing your estate for an expert opinion.

      • Diane Cade says:

        Hi Joe,

        I’m not sure where to turn. My father just passed and he had a VA loan. My mother is already deceased. My brother would like to assume the VA mortgage if this is possible. Would I contact (the mortgage holder) as ask them what would be the next steps? Thank you

  15. Dominique says:

    My father (who is a veteran) lives with me, never did use a VA loan. Recently we talked about buying a house, he gets a social secretly check every month but I am the one who works so I am the one who takes care of all the expenses. Basically what I am asking is, could we go on the loan together, he does get income but of course with it being fixed income it may be better if I showed mine as well, is this possible.

  16. nick says:

    I got 2 questions! can I transfer transfer my va home loan to my sister or let my sister to use my va home loan if i permit the va to let my benefit togo with my sister because I’ve served in armed forces for 4 years and honorably discharge!???
    2nd, Im a vet who’s served in armed forces and honorably discharged than will it be ok to let a girlfriend of mine to purchase a house under her name but use my va home loan as long as i agree to!??

    • Joe Wallace says:

      VA mortgages are assumable, which means a veteran can, with the lender’s participation, allow someone else to assume the debt. However, VA loan benefits are NOT transferrable, which means you cannot let someone else use your VA home loan benefit instead of you.

      • Lori David says:

        My father has pass away can me and my daughter use a veteran loan to go to college or buy a home

        • Joe Wallace says:

          VA loans for surviving spouses of veterans who have died as a result of military service may be able to qualify for a VA home loan, depending on circumstances. However, VA home loans are not available for the children of veterans. For those who may need to learn more about this benefit, contact the VA directly at 1-800 827-1000 to request a certificate of eligibility and to see if your circumstances qualify.

  17. Robert Quednau says:

    I am not a Veteran, My Son is a Veteran, He lost his home due to a, Dear John letter/ foreclosure / divorce, when he was deployed in Afghanistan. We both have good income and I have good credit, can we buy a home together as joint owners, as he works overseas 9 months out of the year??
    Thank You.

    • Joe Wallace says:

      The veteran borrower is required to occupy the home as his or her primary residence. If the overseas work is considered military duty such as a deployment or TDY, that would not violate the occupancy rule. If it is civilian contract work, for example, that would be a violation of VA loan occupancy rules.

  18. Leisha Coronato says:

    My ex-husband was active duty and I am remarried can I get a home mortgage off his retirement now?

    • Joe Wallace says:

      I’m not quite sure what you’re asking, but if you’re asking if it’s possible under VA loan rules to get a VA loan the only way that would be possible is with the participation of the veteran.

  19. angela giles says:

    My father was a veteran, who is now deceased. He served in the military for 2 years. He was honorably discharged in 1967. He never used his VA loan. His wife is still living. Is she eligible to use the loan or would I, his daughter, be able to use the loan?

    • Joe Wallace says:

      Surviving spouses may be able to use the veteran’s VA loan depending on circumstances (call the VA directly at 1-800 827-1000 for more assistance on this issue) but dependent children are not allowed at the time of this writing to do so.

  20. Darlene Munoz says:


    I wanted to know if I am eligible for my deceased x husband VA Certificate .

    We were married 15 years.
    Then we got divorced.

    He remarried in 2006 and died 2013. He was married for 8 years then died.

    His wife destroyed my marriage and destroyed my x husband.

    He was locked up in a va hospital for mental depression due to his x wife.

    I have been by myself for 25 years never remarried.

  21. Denise Speerly says:

    Can parents use the vs p and to buy a home? This home will be left to the boys serving. Thank you…

    • Joe Wallace says:

      If you are asking if the non-veteran parents of a dependent child who is serving in the military can use the child’s VA loan benefit, the short answer is no. However it may be possible for the veteran to use a power of attorney to allow the parent to purchase a home with a VA mortgage IN THE VETERAN’S NAME and on that veteran’s behalf.

  22. ma rcella seachrist says:

    My brother and father now deceased. were in Army. Can I. apply for VA loan. My daughter and her husband looking for a house. can they too also apply

    • Joe Wallace says:

      Family members (aside from certain surviving spouses of military members under qualifying circumstances) are not permitted to use the veteran’s VA loan benefit.

  23. Hailey says:

    My father is a disabled vet. My question is even though I am no longer a dependent of his, am I eligible for a home loan myself.

  24. Linda dansby says:

    What happens to there loan when they pass away they fought for there country it should still be therrs
    To help out there family tather here or dirs

  25. harley says:

    hi if my father gets a va home loan which he has already qualified for and passes away before the loan is payed of would i be able to take over the loan under the same note or would it go back?

    • Joe Wallace says:

      That may depend on the laws of your state and/or who is named as the heir(s) of the estate. However, the loan would not be paid off by the VA or revert back to the VA. The responsibility for the loan falls to the estate or the heir.

  26. mdezort says:

    My veteran disabled father just passed away and he has a VA loan on his home. What happens now? Can I save his home? I am his only living child or heir. He had no will.

    • Joe Wallace says:

      It depends greatly on the laws of your state, but in general VA loan rules say the loan and the home go to the heirs or the estate depending on circumstances. State and local laws apply and VA loan rules won’t override any applicable laws that may govern how the estate is handled.

  27. towanna ford says:

    My husband was in the military for 20 years 1965-1985. He was married to his ex-wife for 12 years. We were married for 5 years. He passed away August 2014.. I would like to obtain a loan to go to school. Is this possible

  28. edith davis says:

    my husband served 4 years in the army has since died and not military related; am I entitled to a va home loan or for that matter any benefits.

  29. tins says:

    I was horonable discharged from the navy served 4 years. Was wondering can my mom use my via home laon to buy build a new house on her land?

  30. demetria lozano says:

    My son is active duty and I’m a vet can we use the VA loan if he is station in another city but same state and will tdy in 2 months to korea

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