VA Loan Articles
Is VA Loan Eligibility Part of VA Death Benefits?When a veteran dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to certain VA death benefits, including any SGLI life insurance arrangement, military burial honors, death pensions for war veterans, and certain VA home loan benefits.
Surviving spouses are eligible for VA home loans when, according to the VA, the veteran died on active duty or as a result of service-related disabilities. In the case of death on active duty, there's no question as to the status of the veteran, but for "service-related disabilities" there are verification procedures which may be required.
The veteran must have the disability documented in their VA records. This means the service member submitted a claim to the VA, the VA reviewed the medical claim, and assigned a percentage of disability based on a VA medical examination. The government only recognizes service-related medial issues as such if the VA has investigated the claim.
Note that VA mortgages for surviving spouses are stipulated for those who are unmarried. There is a provision for those who have remarried; according to the VA, the spouse who remarries at or beyond their 57th birthday after December 16 2003 could also be eligible for a VA home loan.
Another benefit for surviving spouses is the VA interest rate reduction refinance loan, also known as the IRRRL. This is for surviving spouses who took out a VA mortgage with the military member "prior to the time of death" according to the VA. The VA IRRRL can be financed with all costs built into the loan amount, making this an attractive benefit to those who may struggle to keep up with VA loan payments and other bills in the wake of a military spouse's death.
VA home mortgage loan eligibility for surviving spouses must be applied for--it is not automatically added. Applying for eligibility and the actual VA loan application process is similar to any other VA loan product, but you may experience a few additional requirements. Be prepared to furnish proof of death and disability where applicable along with any other document the VA or loan officer requires. Also you must apply for your certificate of eligibility (VA form 26-1880) through a specific branch office of the Veterans Administration:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
PO Box 20729
Winston-Salem, NC 27120
Unfortunately, the death benefit version of VA loan eligibility is limited only to the surviving spouse. Surviving children are not entitled to use the veteran's VA home loan benefits.