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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 VA.gov, “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.

29 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:

    Hello
    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,
    Barbara

    • 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:

    Hello,

    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

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