Losing someone you love is a traumatic experience, especially if that person died while actively serving in the military. When your partner signed up for the military, you knew that losing them was a possibility, but of course, it’s heartbreaking when it actually happens. Fortunately, the VA does offer some comfort to surviving spouses of military Veterans. Some can even qualify for a VA loan so they can live comfortably after their spouse has passed. But what if you decide to remarry later on? How will your loan eligibility be affected? Below, we’ve discussed VA loan requirements for surviving spouses who wish to remarry.
Am I Eligible for a VA Loan as a Surviving Spouse?
To get a VA loan as a surviving spouse, you’ll have to do more than meet your lender’s income and credit requirements. You’ll also have to apply for a COE (Certificate of Eligibility). This is a special letter issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs that tells your lender that you qualify for VA loan benefits because of your circumstances.
Applying for a COE as a Surviving Spouse
The application process for obtaining a COE as a surviving spouse differs depending on whether or not you’re currently receiving DIC benefits. Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free benefit issued to qualifying surviving spouses of military Veterans.
If you’re receiving DIC, you’ll need to fill out VA Form 26-1817. This is a Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility for Unmarried Surviving Spouses. You’ll also need to provide the Veteran’s DD214 (or other separation papers) if available.
If you are not receiving DIC, you’ll need to apply. You can do so by completing the Application for DIC, Survivors Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits form (VA Form 21P-534EZ). You’ll also need the Veteran’s DD214, a copy of your marriage license, and the Veteran’s death certificate.
What If I Decide to Remarry? Can I Still Get a VA Loan?
Losing a spouse is hard and not everyone decides to remarry. However, some people do find that they’re eventually able to find peace, move on, and marry someone new.
However, it’s important to know that remarrying can affect a surviving spouse’s VA loan eligibility. The requirements for VA loans for surviving spouses are very specific.
The VA states that in order to obtain a COE, one of the following situations must be true:
- The Veteran (your spouse) is missing in action
- The Veteran (your spouse) is a prisoner of war (POW)
- The Veteran (your spouse) died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn’t remarry
- The Veteran (your spouse) 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
- The Veteran (your spouse) had been totally disabled and then died, but their disability may not have been the cause of death (in certain situations)
Therefore, if you decide to remarry, you must do so after you are 57 years old or after December 16, 2003, in order to continue to be eligible for VA loan benefits.
The VA also states that “A surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after their 57th birthday, must have applied no later than December 15, 2004, to establish home loan eligibility.”
As you can see, VA loan requirements for surviving spouses can be complicated. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your lender and ask for help.
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