VA guidelines

VA Loans For Unmarried Surviving Spouses

April 10, 2014

VA Loans For Unmarried Surviving Spouses

062-logoThe VA loan benefit is available for military members and veterans who have served the minimum required time in uniform based on when they joined the military and the nature of their service (active duty, National Guard or Reserve). But in certain cases, the surviving spouses of military members who have died can also get VA loan eligibility and entitlement.

According to VA Pamphlet 26-7, the VA Lender’s Handbook, “Unmarried surviving spouses of veterans who die on active duty or later from service-connected causes may also be eligible for the home loan benefit.” This requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to certify or verify death from service connected issues–or to at least issue some formal recognition of the same.

VA loan rules also offer the following instructions for the lender in cases where the veteran died of a non-service connected issue. “Surviving spouses of veterans who died from non-service connected causes may also be eligible if any of the following conditions are met:

(1) The veteran was rated totally disabled for 10 years or more immediately preceding death; or

(2) Was rated totally disabled for not less than five years from date of discharge or release from active duty to date of death, or

(3) The veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999, and was rated totally disabled for not less than one year immediately preceding death.”

What about surviving spouses who have remarried? Do VA loan benefits apply to them to? Only under the right circumstances according to the VA Lender’s Handbook, which states, “…a surviving spouse of a veteran who dies on active duty or from service- connected causes, may still be eligible if remarried on or after age 57 and on or after December 16, 2003.”

VA Loan rules also provide for surviving spouses of those who are listed as missing in action or as prisoners of war. “Eligibility may also be granted to the spouse of an active duty member who is listed as missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW) for at least 90 days. Eligibility under this MIA/POW provision is limited to one-time use only.”

Do you have questions about VA home loans? Ask us in the comments section.

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