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Can Other Than Honorable Discharge Get Va Loan

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Special Rules For Spouses To Obtain A Va Loan

Charlie Foxtrot: Valley veteran appeals his ‘other than honorable’ discharge

It is often said that spouses serve with their service members and the VA does not exclude spouses from the VA home loan program.

Spouses who lost their partners due to the service may be eligible under one of the following rules:

  • The spouse is of a deceased service member who died during service or because of a service-connected disability and the spouse has not remarried.

  • The spouse is of a service member is missing in action or a current prisoner of war.

  • The spouse is a surviving spouse of certain totally disabled veterans whose disability might not have been the cause of the veterans death.

  • The spouse is designated a surviving spouse and did not remarry until at least age 57, and no sooner than December 16, 2003 .

In general, if a spouse who lost their partner due to the service has remarried, they are no longer eligible for the program.

Service Requirements For A Va Home Loan

Not all current and former military members can qualify for a VA loan. To be eligible, you have to meet certain service requirements first.

Heres how those break down:

  • At least 90 days of consecutive service during wartime OR
  • At least 181 days of consecutive service during peacetime OR
  • At least six years of service in the National Guard or Reserves

Surviving spouses of Veterans, Prisoners of War, those missing in action may also be eligible in many cases.

Options For An Oth Va Home Loan

Those with Other Than Honorable discharges and bad conduct discharges will require a case-by-case review from the VA in other to determine benefit eligibility. Veterans who feel like their discharge or dismissal was made in error can appeal to the discharge review board of their respective military service, as long as the discharge was not issued by court-martial. It may take months for the VA to determine whether a Veteran is eligible for an Other Than Honorable VA loan. Those with dishonorable discharges will not be eligible for the home loan program.

If you have an Other Than Honorable discharge, its worth noting that other VA benefits are still available to you, including mental health care. Reach out directly to the VA to find out which specific benefits you are eligible for. You can also create an eBenefits portal account to check on your benefits status yourself.

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Does A Dd214 Make You A Veteran

The DD 256 and 257 are issued when the person has not met the active duty requirements to be considered a veteran by the DoD. But having a DD214 form doesnt automatically mean you are a veteran! What is truly bothersome is that people who have served but dont qualify as a veteran can request a DD214.

How A Military Discharge Can Affect Your Va Loan Eligibility

Can You Get A Va Loan With An Honorable Discharge

In addition to meeting the service requirements noted above, youll also need an acceptable discharge status to qualify for a VA loan. These include Honorable , Under Honorable Conditions , and General .

If you dont meet these requirements but were discharged due to hardship, early out, reduction in force, the convenience of the government, certain medical conditions, or a service-related disability, you might also be able to qualify as long as youve served at least 90 days.

In the event your discharge was Other Than Honorable or Bad Conduct, youll need to apply for a discharge upgrade and go through the VA Character of Discharge review process with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Does My Va Loan Eligibility Ever Expire

No, as long as you meet the qualifying service requirements, your VA loan benefits never expire. You can use them on your first home purchase and any subsequent home purchases after that.

There is, however, a limit to your loan entitlement or how much the VA will guarantee. Fortunately, once you sell a home and pay off the VA loan attached to it, your entitlement resets and can be used for a new piece of property.

Changing Upgrading Military Discharge Status

Again, a character of service determination is what VA is going to consider when determining whether you are eligible to receive benefits or not.; However, many people want to actually change the discharge status itself.; There are two bodies that you can do this with depending on your case: the Discharge Review Board or the Board of Corrections of Military Records.; Each has different jurisdictional limitations of what they can look at:

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Va Loan Rules For Active Duty Service Members Who Apply For Va Mortgage Loans Without An Honorable Discharge

VA loan rules in the VA Lenders Handbook do not go into great detail about the procedures for approving home loans for those active duty service members who left the military without an Honorable discharge. The full quote from the rules that informs the lender is this:

Cases involving other than honorable discharges will usually require further development by VA. This is necessary to determine if the service was under other than dishonorable conditions.

Simply put, the VA needs to determine that the borrower does NOT have a Dishonorable discharge. For active duty service members, as long as your discharge was NOT categorized as Dishonorable, you are eligible to apply for VA home loan benefits if you meet the basic requirements for the VA loan program. Those basic requirements are not having a dishonorable discharge and serving a minimum time in uniform. Those minimums may vary depending on when you joined the service. According to VA Pamphlet 26-7, the minimum time-in-service requirements are as follows:

  • Active duty service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard after September 15, 1940.
  • Discharged under conditions other than Dishonorable after either 90 days or more, or 181 continuous days in peacetime.

There is a different, two-year requirement for veterans who fit the following criteria:

  • Began military service after September 7, 1980.
  • Began military service as an officer after October 16, 1981.
  • Discharged under other than Dishonorable conditions.

Applying For A Discharge Upgrade

Vets with less than honorable discharge may get second chance at benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs published information explaining how to apply for a discharge upgrade. The website offers step-by-step instructions on upgrading or correcting a discharge status.

Even if you have a less-than-honorable discharge, you may still qualify for some VA benefits through the Character of Discharge review process. This review can take up to a year, but the VA will review your records to determine if your service is honorable for VA purposes. You should provide all documentation to support your review, as you would for an application for discharge upgrade.

In many cases, having an advocate can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case, especially the more complex it is. A Veteran Service Organization is your best bet for most cases; but a lawyer can also be a tremendous asset, especially if you have Uniform Code of Military Justice violations.

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Va Should Already Care For Veterans With Bad

Getting out of the military with any type of discharge less than honorable has been a black mark on veterans, not least of all because it hampers access to post-service benefits. But a bad-conduct or an other-than-honorable discharge does not disqualify veterans from Veterans Affairs Department health care, veteran advocates say, despite what some have been told sometimes by the VA itself.

Congress has been looking into the issue of whether the VA is wrongfully denying services to eligible veterans, and during a hearing Wednesday, they heard testimony from experts who say that the 1944 law that created the GI Bill and cemented the modern VA was meant to cover health care for all types of discharges other than dishonorable, but that VA policy has been excluding those veterans for decades.

They may have walked into the VA, sat down with a benefits counselor and been told, Sorry youre not a vet,’ said Kristofer Goldsmith, founder of High Ground Vets. Doesnt matter if they have a Purple Heart, doesnt matter if they served two or three tours doesnt matter if they watched their buddy get their head blown off. They say, Youre not a vet.

Goldsmith, a former Army forward observer, received a general discharge in 2007, after attempting suicide. His chain of command charged him with malingering and missing movement as the attempt came the night before his unit deployed.

Current reality



Va Loans And Other Than Honorable Discharges

There are several different ways a military member can leave the service. One is to complete 20 years or more of service and apply for military retirement.

Another is to simply allow the current term of enlistment to expire without re-enlisting. Another way is to be given a discharge by the military for any number of reasonsthere are medical discharges, discharges performed for the convenience of the government, even punitive discharges in cases where a military member has been found guilty of wrongdoing and the government chooses to expel the member from service.

No matter how the military member leaves the service of his or her country, the discharge must be characterized. The best known categorizations are Honorable and Dishonorable, but there are many shades of grey in between.

When it comes to applying for a VA home loan, veterans may still be eligible, contrary to popular belief, for benefits even if the discharge received is not categorized as an honorable discharge. Specifically, the Department of Veterans Affairs states that people with dishonorable discharges are not eligible, but all others may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Applications involving other than honorable discharges will usually require further development by VA. This is necessary to determine if the service was under other than dishonorable conditions.

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Applying For Benefits And Your Character Of Discharge

Generally, in order to receive VA benefits and services, the Veterans character of discharge or service must be under other than dishonorable conditions .; However, individuals receiving undesirable, bad conduct, and other types of dishonorable discharges may qualify for VA benefits depending on a determination made by VA.;;;;;;

Each of the military services maintain a discharge review board with authority to change,correct or modify discharges or dismissals not issued by a sentence of a general court-martial.;

Where Did You Serve: Reserve And National Guard

Can You Get VA Disability with Other Than Honorable ...

There are special rules for those who serve in the Reserve and National Guard. You may still be eligible even if you do not meet conditions under any other section of the eligibility requirements. First, you must have served at least six credible years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard. This service includes being a member of an active unit, actually attending your required weekend drills and two-week annual training sessions. Then you must meet one of the following requirements to be considered for the VA home loan program:

  • Received an honorable discharge.

  • Placed on the retired list.

  • Still serving in the Selected Reserve.

  • Transferred to Standby Reserve or a part of the Ready Reserve outside the Selected Reserve after honorable service.

  • Discharged for a service-connected disability with less than six years of service .

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How Can You Qualify For Disability Benefits With Oth Discharge

When applying for VA disability benefits, VA health care, education benefits, and other types of VA benefits, former military;members have several options for qualifying for other than honorable discharge benefits.

One option for a veteran with an other than honorable discharge is to apply for a discharge upgrade through a Discharge Review Board. ;This is a process outside the VA. ;If a discharge is upgraded through this process, the VA will consider the upgrade in determining eligibility for benefits, but the discharge upgrade does not automatically remove the bar to VA benefits.

Under the law, benefits are not payable to a conscientious objector who refused to perform military duty, wear the uniform, or comply with military authorities. ;Nor are benefits payable to a veteran who was discharged by general court-martial, who resigned as an officer for the good of the service, or who deserted. ;Benefits are not payable to a veteran who was absent without official leave for a period of at least 180 days. ;

One other important point to know with regard to the character of discharge is that VA can grant benefits for an injury or disability which occurred during a period of honorable service even if the veteran later has a period of dishonorable service.

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How To Get A Character Of Discharge Review From The Va

The first thing to know is that the VA has probably not done a Character of Discharge decision for you. It doesnât happen automatically. You have to ask for it by applying for a benefit. If you have never applied for a benefit, the VA will assume that you are not eligible.

But if you get a successful Character of Discharge review after applying for one benefit, you will be eligible for other benefits also . Your discharge will not stand in the way of you getting VA benefits ever again.

Here are five steps you can take to maximize your chances of getting a successful Character of Discharge decision.

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What Is The Minimum Down Payment For A Va Loan

One of the biggest benefits of a VA loan is that youre not required to make a down payment you can borrow 100% of the appraised market value of the home.

You can still make a down payment if you want to, and there can be advantages to doing so. You may get a lower interest rate than with a zero down loan. And, if your application is close to being rejected, then making a down payment might see it approved.

The Certificate Of Eligibility

VA Secretary David Shulkin helps veterans with other than honorable discharges

You can prove you meet VA loan requirements by applying for a Certificate of Eligibility or COE. This document tells lenders about your service and loan entitlement and ensures that you meet the most basic requirements of the VA loan program.

A VA COE is required to apply for any VA loan, and you can either retrieve yours yourself or let your mortgage lender request the document for you. VA-approved lenders can use the Department of Veterans Affairs Web LGY portal to pull COEs directly on buyers behalf.

There is, however, a limit to your loan entitlement or how much the VA will guarantee. Fortunately, once you sell a home and pay off the VA loan attached to it, your entitlement resets and can be used for a new piece of property.

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Getting Va Health Care

Oftentimes veterans with conditional or back-to-back discharges get denied VA health care even though they are eligible. This happens because the VA Medical Centers don’t have access to all of your military personnel records or don’t understand that you are eligible for VA health care based on a “good” period of service even if you had one dishonorable discharge. If this happens, you’ll need to get in touch with your VA Regional Office. It is the VA Regional Office that determines your eligibility for health care, not the VA Medical Center.

Character Of Service Determinations

VA does not consider character of discharge until it receives a claim for benefits. This means the onus, or responsibility, is on the veteran to initiate the case-by-case investigation. You can initiate the process via a request for medical treatment at your VA Medical Center or an application for compensation or pension at your VA Regional Office .; If you received an honorable discharge, you will not need a character of service determination.

To determine whether the events that led to discharge were under conditions other than dishonorable, VA reviews the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident that led to discharge, as report by the military. You can also submit your own supporting evidence or evidence obtained from third parties.; Essentially, VA is going to compare what you did in service to the statutory and regulatory bars and then make a determination.

VA is more likely to decide your case favorably if your offense was less serious or if there were mitigating circumstances, meaning there were circumstances that at least partially explain why you engaged in misconduct. It may also help your case if the medical treatment you seek is for a condition incurred in or caused by your service.

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After Establishing Loan Eligibility

Once the VA has provided proof of your OTH VA home loan eligibility to your lender, you can move forward with the process. Keep in mind that eligibility is just one part of the equation youll still need to meet the lenders credit and debt-to-income ratio requirements in order to secure a loan. If youre looking to roll an existing home loan into a new VA loan, there are refinancing options available as well.

Even though the VA has the final say on your eligibility, you dont need to wait until you obtain your Certificate of Eligibility to get in touch with a VA home loan lender. In fact, your lender can help you determine which evidence you need and request your COE as quickly as possible. Whether you just want to find about your VA loan eligibility or youd like to explore your buying power as a military borrower, your lender can assist with these preliminary steps.

To sum it up, you can apply for VA home loan benefits as long as your discharge is not in the Dishonorable category. You may face additional review if your discharge is labeled Other Than Honorable or Bad Conduct. This can add substantial time to the homebuying process, so you may consider establishing your eligibility with the VA as soon as possible if you plan on purchasing a home in the future.

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