A Guide to VA Home Loan Eligibility


In 1944, President Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, or what we commonly refer to as the GI Bill of Rights.  Under this law, military personnel returning from war are entitled to government benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs so that they could secure funds for starting a business, go to college, receive up to a year of unemployment pay, and obtain loans for starting a business or buying a home.

Just as it was a huge help to the veterans of WWII, it remains a crucial part of today’s VA benefits package.  Veterans are able to obtain a mortgage loan with a little or no down payment required, and no mortgage insurance necessary.  What makes it even better is that lenders gladly extend home loans at low rates to veterans, knowing that such loans are backed by the government. 

 Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the VA Loan Guaranty program:

1. Veterans must fulfill at least the minimum active-duty requirements.  Requirements for beginning and end dates vary by the following:

  • Veterans currently serving since August 2, 1990: 24 months of continuous service or at least 90 consecutive days ordered or called to active duty.
  • Veterans who served September 8, 1980 – August 1, 1990: 24 months of continuous service or at least 181 consecutive days of active duty. For officers, the beginning date for the requirement is October 17, 1981.
  • Veterans who served May 8, 1975 – September 7, 1980: 181 consecutive days of active duty. For officers, the ending date for this requirement is October 16, 1981.
  • Veterans who served August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975: 90 days of active duty. For veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, the beginning date for this requirement is February 28, 1961.
  • Veterans who served February 1, 1955 – August 4, 1964: 181 consecutive days of active duty.
  • Veterans who served June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955: 90 days of active duty.
  • Veterans who served July 26, 1947 – June 26, 1950: 181 consecutive days of active duty.
  • Veterans who served September 16, 1940 – July 25, 1947: 90 days of active duty.

2. Veterans who have been discharged from service may qualify for a VA loan if they don’t fit under the minimum requirements under the following conditions:

  • Discharges caused by disability or medical conditions has occurred as a result of their military service.
  • Discharge due to a reduction in force (RIF) or government convenience.
  • Discharge due to hardship.

3. Veterans who have not been dishonorably discharged.
4. Non-veterans are also eligible for VA loans if they meet certain conditions:

  • Active-duty military personnel who have served for at least 90 consecutive days in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines.
  • A military spouse of a serviceperson alive who is declared as a prisoner of war (POW) or is missing in action (MIA) for at least 90 days, and is eligible on a one-time basis only.
  • A military spouse of a deceased serviceperson who died while on active duty, or was a veteran or disabled veteran who died from their service-connected disability. The spouse is eligible if he or she has not remarried.
  • Remarried military spouses who had a VA loan with the deceased military serviceperson can be eligible for VA loan refinancing. In this case, the service person's death does not have to be related to the spouse’s ability to qualify. Children of deceased active-duty or veteran service personnel are not eligible for VA loans.
  • National Guard and Reservists who have completed at least 6 years of service and continue to serve, or have been honorably discharged, are retired, or transferred after honorable service to Ready Reserve or Standby Reserve.
  • Cadets and officers who have completed service with the Coast Guard Academy, US Military, US Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, as well as WWII merchant seamen, officers of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and officers of the US Public Health Service.

For the most up-to-date VA eligibility requirements, please visit: https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/home-loans/eligibility/

Are you eligible for a VA Home Loan?  Let Teresa Ryan, Managing Broker / Owner of Ryan Hill Group help you find a home today!  Call her today at 630-276-7575 or email her at [email protected].

Get a copy of our Home Buyer Guide written by Teresa Ryan for Chicagoland home buyers, visit: FREE Home Buyer's Guide

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