With Independence Day just weeks away, many families are preparing for a night filled with loved ones, barbeques, and fireworks. However, even while our carefree celebrations will be occurring, thousands of military members will remain deployed over the holiday fighting so that we may maintain our freedom. If you have a loved one who is serving or has served in our nation's military, take the time this Independence Day to say thank you for serving by making sure they are aware of all the benefits they are eligible for.
In addition to health and pension benefits commonly associated with the military, veterans and active duty service members are also eligible for a host of other benefits, including the VA Home Loan, which can enhance the quality of a military member's life by making homeownership affordable and accessible.
What is a VA Home Loan?
The VA Home Loan is a mortgage loan that is partially guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Because the VA insures a part of each loan, military borrowers are able to receive loan benefits that they would not be able to find with other traditional lending programs. In addition to low interests rates and flexible mortgage terms, VA loan benefits include:
â€¢ No required down payment
â€¢ High loan limits
â€¢ No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Who is Eligible for the VA Home Loan Program?
To make homeownership more accessible to veterans and active duty service members, the VA Home Loan Program has constructed very lenient eligibility requirements. To become initially eligible for a VA Home Loan, veterans and active duty service members must simply submit a Certificate of Eligibility, and:
â€¢ Have served for at least 3 months on active duty during war time or served for 181 days on active during peacetime
â€¢ Or have served 6 years in the Reserves or National Guard
In addition to VA home loans, active-duty service members have the benefit of knowing their home will remain in their possession while they are deployed. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was signed into law in 2003 to protect active duty service members against any pre-existing financial obligations. Military service is strenuous and often unpredictable. Upon deployment, a service member may have to place unnecessary financial burden on his or her family left behind as the family now must cover the costs of everyday life along with the rent or mortgage payment on their own.
SCRA was established to limit these personal and financial burdens created during deployment by providing mortgage relief in addition to other forms of relief such as:
â€¢ Termination of Leases
â€¢ Protection from Eviction
â€¢ 6 Percent Cap on Interest Rates
â€¢ Reopening of Default Judgments
â€¢ Stay of Proceedings
The last thing a military member should have to be concerned about when serving abroad is the home or family they have had to leave behind. The Servicemember's Civil Relief Act was created to lessen those concerns. A constantly worried service member isn't able to serve to the best of his or her abilities and could lead them to eventually put themselves unknowingly in harms way. So this holiday season, make sure the military members close to you know about the benefits that are there to both serve and protect them so that they may enjoy a high quality of life, and obtain the American Dream they fought so hard to protect.
Matt Polsky is guest author for Rock Realty from VA Benefit Blog, a blog focused on providing our veterans and service members with current news and information on the benefits they have earned through serving our country.