military va home loan

VA Loans

Do You Have to Be in the Military to Get a VA Home Loan?

VA home loans are an attractive option due to their agreeable terms, low-interest rates, and no down payment requirements. If you’re thinking about buying a home and you, yourself, or a family member has served in the military, you may be wondering if you’re eligible for a VA loan.

Below, we’ve discussed VA home loan eligibility in detail.


Intro to the VA Home Loan Program

The VA home loan program was started in 1944 under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the GI Bill of Rights. Originally, this law was enacted to provide benefits for Veterans of World War II, but later it was expanded to include other service members.


Do I Have to Be a Veteran to Qualify?

Even though they’re called “Veteran” home loans, these loans are not just for Veterans. They’re also for qualifying individuals who are actively serving in the military, reservists, and those serving in other classes of the armed forces. Furthermore, even some spouses of deceased service members may be eligible. 


List of Eligible Individuals

You may be eligible for a VA loan if you are:

  • An active-duty service member
  • A member of the National Guard
  • A Reservist
  • A surviving spouse of a Veteran
  • A cadet in the U.S. Military, Air Force or Coast Guard Academy
  • A midshipman in the U.S. Naval Academy
  • An officer in the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration


Minimum Service Length Requirements

Another important factor that determines your VA loan eligibility is how long you’ve served. You must meet the VA’s Minimum Service Length Requirements in order to qualify. 

If you do not meet the Minimum Service Length Requirements, you may still be eligible if you were discharged because of:

  • Hardship
  • The convenience of the government (you must have served at least 20 months of a 2-year enlistment)
  • Early out (you must have served 21 months of a 2-year enlistment)
  • Reduction in force
  • Certain medical conditions
  • A service-connected disability (a disability related to your military service)


Surviving Spouses & Family Members

Surviving spouses are the only family members that may be eligible for VA loan benefits. Children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, and other family members are not eligible. If you are a surviving spouse, you may be able to qualify if:

  • Your spouse is a Veteran who is missing in action
  • Your spouse is a Veteran who is a prisoner of war (POW)
  • Your spouse was a Veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn’t remarry
  • Your spouse was a Veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn’t remarry before you were 57 years old or before December 16, 2003
  • Your spouse was a Veteran who had been totally disabled and then died, but their disability may not have been the cause of death (in certain situations)


Have Questions About Your Eligibility?

VA home loan eligibility can be confusing, but we’re here to help. Call our office today to speak to an expert.