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Proof of Service Requirements for VA Home Loans

Published April 20, 2010
2 min read

Are you an active duty service member looking to buy property with a VA home loan?

When you start the process of applying for a VA mortgage, one of the first things you're required to do is prove that you're on active duty and in good standing with your branch of the service. Where your loan officer is concerned, that might mean simply showing your current military ID card and a Leave and Earning Statement, but the Department of Veterans Affairs requires something more.

In order to be approved for a VA home loan, the VA requires you to provide a signed statement from your unit commander or a designated representative. The statement must list you by name, rank, Social Security number and also the nature of your current active duty service commitment or the length of your current assignment.

That's a bit complicated compared to the requirements retirees and honorably separated military members have to do to show proof of service; in those cases it's simply a matter of submitting a copy of the DD form 214 which acts as proof of service and also shows the nature of the discharge. (Those who left the military under circumstances other than fully honorable may have a difficult time getting qualified for a VA mortgage.)

Both a statement of service for active military and a DD-214 for veterans are essential for obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility. This is a formal VA document indicating your eligibility for a VA home loan.

Have you recently separated from the military? If your time in service is sufficient and you were discharged honorably, you should have no trouble getting past the proof of service requirements once you get a copy of your DD214, but some assume that a discharge not listed as honorable is a permanent barrier to getting military benefits like a VA mortgage.

Fortunately, that's not always true. Those who get some types of military discharges classified as other than honorable may be eligible to appear before a discharge review board and apply to have the military discharge upgraded to honorable. If you're able to take advantage of this "second chance" type of military discharge upgrade or correction, it's a good idea to start the proceedings as soon as you're permitted under the discharge review board regulations.

Buyers and sellers should never assume that a certain kind of discharge is an immediate barrier to getting a VA loan and being able to purchase the property. Buyers should consult with the nearest regional office of the Department of Veterans Affairs to learn what rules and timetables apply in a particular circumstance.

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