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VA Announces Help For Veterans Affected by Missouri Tornadoes

May 27, 2011

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VA Announces Help For Veterans Affected by Missouri Tornadoes

The Department of Veterans Affairs has made a lot of disaster relief announcements in the spring of 2011. So many that the Department of Veterans Affairs has released a “generic” announcement directing vets in need of help in the wake of natural disasters.

“If you have been affected by the recent natural disasters, which includes tornadoes, flooding, and wild fires throughout different parts of the country, please review VA’s information on Natural Disaster Assistance.” The link to that publication is http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/docs/va_policy_regarding_natural_disasters.pdf. The announcement directs people to their nearest VA Regional Loan Center or the VA toll-free hotline: (877) 827-3702.

The latest VA relief effort is directed at veterans who may have been affected by tornadoes in Missouri including the one that devastated the city of Joplin.

“We will do everything we can to help Veterans and their families get through this difficult time,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki as quoted in a recent VA press release. “We urge Veterans to use VA resources available to help them recover from this disaster.”

As with other disasters around the country, the Department of Veterans Affairs urges lenders “not to initiate any new foreclosures in the disaster areas for a period of 90 days.

The agency also encourages mortgage companies that service VA-guaranteed home loans to extend every possible forbearance to borrowers who are in distress through no fault of their own.  This includes suspension of reporting to credit bureaus and waiving late charges for affected borrowers.”

Vets are reminded to get in touch with the VA, their insurance company, and the lender as soon as possible. Claims for losses need to be filed quickly, but the VA warns vets not to accept hasty settlements. Always review the terms and conditions of an insurance settlement and be sure to have any damage evaluated by a trained appraiser or inspector.

In some cases, post-disaster recovery benefits or payments may not be issued unless the borrower has started FEMA disaster applications. Borrowers can call 1-800-621-3362 to learn more about the FEMA process.

According to the VA press release, “Low interest loans, cash grants, and housing assistance may be available from agencies associated with the disaster recovery effort,” but the FEMA application is often the first step.

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