Eligibility for the VA Home Loan Program

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Who’s Eligible for a VA-Backed Loan?

 

  • Veterans
  • Active duty personnel
  • Reservists/National Guard members
  • Some surviving spouses

Go to Eligibility Rules for detailed information.  You might also want to look at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

 

How Do I Prove to the Lender that I’m Eligible?

You’ll need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) before you can get a VA-backed loan.  This section shows how you can apply for one.

Among categories A, B, and C below, find the one that matches your situation.

 

Category A:  Veterans, Active Duty, and Reservists/National Guard Members Who Have Served on Active Duty

 

You can get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in any of three ways:

  1. Apply online.  To get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) online, please go to the eBenefits portal at this link.  If you already have login credentials, click the Login box, and if you need login credentials, please click the Register box and follow the directions on the screen.  If you need any assistance please call the eBenefits Help Desk at 1-800-983-0937.  Their hours are Monday-Friday, 8am to 8pm EST.
  2. Apply through the lender.  In many cases, lenders can obtain a Certificate online in minutes.  Check the table below entitled, “Evidence Needed for the Certificate of Eligibility.”
  3. Apply by mail.  Use VA Form 26-1880.  Return it to the address shown on the form. If you can’t print the form, just call 1-888-768-2132 and follow the prompts for Eligibility.  We can mail it to you.

Evidence you’ll need when you apply (Category A)


Category B:  Reservists/National Guard Members Who Have Never Served on Active Duty

You can get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in any of three ways:

  1. Apply online.  To get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) online, please go to the eBenefits portal at this link.  If you already have login credentials, click the Login box, and if you need login credentials, please click the Register box and follow the directions on the screen.  If you need any assistance please call the eBenefits Help Desk at 1-800-983-0937.  Their hours are Monday-Friday, 8am to 8pm EST.
  2. Apply through the lender.  Your lender can submit your application online for you.  Check the table below entitled, “Evidence Needed for the Certificate of Eligibility.”
  3. Apply by mail.  Use VA Form 26-1880. If you can’t print the form, just call 1-888-768-2132 and follow the prompts for Eligibility.  We can mail it to you.

Evidence you’ll need when you apply (Category B)


Category C:  Surviving Spouses of Veterans Who Died In Service or As a Result of Service

You must apply for the Certificate by mail.

If your veteran spouse died after service, VA must determine that the death was due to a service-connected disability.  Please allow 2-3 months for this process unless you know that the decision on service-connected death has already been made.

Apply using VA Form 26-1817.  If you can’t print the form, just call 1-888-768-2132 and follow the prompts for Eligibility.  We can mail it to you.

Send the completed form to:

VA Loan Eligibility Center
Attn: COE (262)
PO Box 100034
Decatur, GA 30031

Evidence you’ll need when you apply (Category C)


What Evidence Will I Need to Get the Certificate?

 

The evidence you need depends on the nature of your eligibility.  This chart explains.

Evidence Needed for the Certificate of Eligibility

 

If you are. . .

  • Veteran (Includes a member or former member of the National Guard or Reserves who was once activated for Federal Service)

You should submit . . .

DD Form 214; We are required to have a copy showing the character of service (item 24) and the narrative reason for separation (item 28).

If you are. . .

  • Active duty servicemember

You should submit . . .

A current statement of service

signed by (or by the direction of):
the adjutant, personnel office, or commander of the unit or higher headquarters

showing:

  1. Your full name
  2. Social Security Number
  3. Date of birth
  4. Entry date on active duty
  5. The duration of any lost time
  6. The name of the command providing the information
Back to Category A

If you are. . .

Serving now in the Selected Reserve or the National Guard and have never been activated for federal service

You should submit . . .

Statement of service signed by (or by the direction of):
the adjutant, personnel officer or commander of your unit or higher headquarters

showing:

  1. Your full name
  2. Social Security Number
  3. Date of birth
  4. Entry date on duty
  5. The total number of creditable years of service
  6. The duration of any lost time
  7. The name of the command providing the information

If you are. . .

A discharged member of the National Guard who has never been activated for federal service

You should submit . . .

Either:

NGB Form 22, Report of Separation and Record of Service, for each period of National Guard service OR NGB Form 23, Retirement Points Accounting, and proof of the character of service

If you are. . .

A discharged member of the Selected Reserve who has never been activated for federal service

You should submit . . .

Copy of your latest annual retirement points statement and evidence of honorable service

Back to Category B

If you are. . .

The surviving spouse of a servicemember who died on active duty

You should submit . . .

If you’re already receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), you don’t need to send any documents.

If you don’t receive DIC, please send us

  • A copy of the DD Form 1300 (Report of Casualty) from the military
  • A copy of your marriage certificate

It would be a good idea to add a simple signed statement saying that you would like to apply for DIC.  If you qualify for the home loan benefit, you probably qualify for monthly payments under DIC.

Put the servicemember’s Social Security number on all documents.

If you are. . .

The surviving spouse of a veteran who died as a result of military service

You should submit . . .

If you’re already receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), send us a copy of your award letter.
(Generally, you will already have a record on file at a VA regional benefits office.)

If you don’t receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), please send us

  • A copy of the veteran’s DD Form 214
  • A copy of the veteran’s death certificate
  • A copy of your marriage certificate

We recommend that you add a simple signed statement saying that you would like to apply for DIC.  If you qualify for the home loan benefit, you probably qualify for monthly payments under DIC.

Put the veteran’s Social Security number on all documents.

Back to Category C


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