VA Expands Mortgage Access for Unjustly Dismissed LGBTQ Vets – Forbes Advisor


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Thousands of LGBTQ veterans fired for their sexual orientation under a now-repealed discriminatory policy called Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) are getting more support from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Part of this support includes extending eligibility to veterans who have not previously qualified for a VA loan.

In today’s hot housing market where house prices are rising rapidly resulting in higher down payments, a VA loan can provide significant relief to borrowers because it has lower down payment and credit requirements than a typical traditional loan.

As part of the 10th anniversary of DADT’s repeal, the VA released a policy clarification that will make it easier for LGBTQ vets who have not been honorably discharged to access their services, including a mortgage loan.

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What is in the instructions of the VA

The guideline contains two main points that the VA clarified on Monday. First, VA arbitrators (the people responsible for resolving VA disputes or appeals) must grant VA benefits to all service members who have been dismissed because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.

These VA benefits include:

  • Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loans
  • GI invoice
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Benefits
  • Life insurance
  • Pension
  • Funeral services
  • Health care
  • Homeless programs

Second, all character-of-discharge cases are given a “second look” before any action is taken. This is important because any discharge other than honorable may mean that veterans are not eligible for some benefits. For example, in order to receive benefits from the VA home loan, the dismissal must not take place under dishonorable conditions, such as B. honorable, on honorable terms, or general dismissal.

“Given that a large number of LGBTQ + veterans affected by previous homophobic and transphobic policies have not requested increases in dismissal because the process may be arduous, we hope this policy statement encourages more of them to come to terms with VA to get in touch to determine their eligibility for care and services, “the VA said in a blog post.

More than 14,346 qualified service employees were laid off between 1993 and 2011 for their sexual orientation under the DADT policy. And about 4,000 more checked back in every year during that time because of politics, according to the Center for American Progress.

How to apply for VA home loans

A VA home loan can be a great benefit for home buyers who may not have a large down payment or who may not meet the minimum loan requirements for other loans. Although VA loans are not made by the VA, they are guaranteed by the government, which is a great incentive for private lenders because it reduces their risk, especially when compared to traditional mortgages.

Get a certificate of eligibility

The first step in getting a VA loan is to get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The documentation you need depends on your status, but here are a few examples.

Veterans, active or former member of the National Guard or the Reserve: Copy of your discharge or release papers (DD214)

Active service member: Declaration of service signed by your commanding officer, adjutant or personnel officer. It must contain all of the following personal data:

  • Full name
  • Social security number
  • birth date
  • Date you entered the service
  • Length of time lost
  • Name of the command that provides the information

Current member of the National Guard or the Reserves and has never been activated: Declaration of service signed by your commanding officer, adjutant or personnel officer. It must contain all of the following personal data:

  • Full name
  • Social security number
  • birth date
  • Date you entered the service
  • Length of time lost

Dismissed member of the National Guard and never activated: Separation and service protocol (NGB form 22) for each period of service in the National Guard, your pension point declaration (NGB form 23) and proof of service character.

Dismissed member of the reserve and never activated: A copy of your most recent annual retirement points and evidence of your honorable service.

Surviving spouse entitled to housing benefit: Your spouse’s discharge documents

Once you have the required documents, you can download the application, which is available from the VA website, and mail the application along with your documents to the address on the application, or you can Apply online for a COE.

shopping spree

After you receive your COE, it is time to look for a lender that offers VA loans.

If you have the full entitlement, there is no need to deposit any money. The VA guarantees you will repay 25% of the loan amount if you default on a $ 144,000 mortgage.

VA borrowers are eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • You have never used your home loan service or
  • A previous VA loan was paid off in full and you sold the property (in which case you would get your full entitlement back), or
  • You had a foreclosure or settlement claim (also called a short sale) and you paid back the VA loan in full

Make sure that you compare prices on different lenders and products such as traditional loans to make sure you are getting the best deal.

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