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A Veterans Affairs loan, or VA loan, gives veterans the right to a federally guaranteed home without having to make a down payment. The service was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt through the GI Bill of Rights in 1944. The purpose of the VA loan is to give veterans the opportunity to adjust to living with their families and pursuing dreams such as owning a home after serving their country. It has played a large role in veterans’ welfare and in the economy’s growth, and more than 27 million veterans and service personnel are eligible for VA loans.
To be eligible, a veteran must have served on active duty for at least 90 days during a war or 181 days during peacetime. If a veteran served less than 90 days, he or she can still be eligible if a disability from service occurred. If a veteran enlisted after 7 September 1980, however, the minimum length of time for a VA loan is two years. If the veteran served as an officer on or after 16 October 1981, two years is also the minimum requirement. Members of the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Air National Guard, Coast Guard Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Air Force Reserve are also eligible for VA loans if they served for at least six years.
Those currently on active duty will be eligible for a VA loan after 90 days, provided the service remains active. A spouse of a veteran is also eligible if the veteran died while on active duty or from an injury incurred while serving. Additionally, a spouse of a U.S. Armed Forces agent can receive a loan if the agent is missing in action or a prisoner of war for at least 90 days. To receive the home loan, the spouse can only be remarried after age 57.
Applicants for a VA loan cannot have received a dishonorable discharge. If the discharge was anything other than honorable, it will be investigated by Veterans Affairs. Other veterans who may be eligible include those who served with any member of an allied country during World War II. Additionally, Public Health Service officers, U.S. Military cadets, World War II seamen and members of the Air Force, Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration may be eligible for a VA loan.
The government guarantees a maximum of 25 percent of the loan up to $104,250 US Dollars (USD). This makes the maximum home loan for a veteran $417,000 USD. The loans are made by banks or mortgage companies that are privately owned. The veteran and/or spouse may borrow the funding fee and property value or purchase price, whichever is less.
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