VA loans — or loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs — are traditionally reserved for veterans or current active military members. But surviving spouses who have lost their military-employed husband or wife can also potentially qualify, too.

It’s likely welcome news for these widows and widowers, as VA loans come with serious benefits — things like no down payment requirements, low interest rates, and 100-percent financing.

Are you the surviving spouse of a veteran or military member? Here’s how to tell if you qualify for a valuable VA loan:

  • Your spouse died in service or due to a service-related injury. Spouses of POW (prisoners of war) and MIA (missing in action) military members are also eligible.
  • Your spouse served in the U.S. Army, Navy, National Guard, Coast Guard, Marine Corps., or Air Force. Reservists who served at least 6 years are also eligible.
  • You have not remarried since your spouse passed away.

If your husband or wife did not die in the line of duty or because of a duty-related condition, you may still qualify, as long as they were rated totally disabled and eligible for compensation upon discharge. In order to qualify under this rule, they must have been totally disabled for at least 10 years prior to their death or 5 years from the date of their discharge. If your spouse was a POW, they’d need to have been rated totally disabled for at least one year prior to their death.

VA Homes Loan Details

As a surviving spouse, you will be exempt from the VA funding fee (which costs anywhere from 0.5 percent to 3.3 percent of the loan amount). You also won’t need to pay for private mortgage insurance or have a down payment, and there are no penalties if you choose to pay off your loan early.

If you had a VA loan with your spouse before they passed, you may also qualify for a VA refinance, which allows you to change your loan term, lower your monthly payment, or take advantage of lower interest rates should they become available. You can also use VA refinances to access cash for home improvements, medical bills, or other costs or to consolidate other higher-interest debts. Contact a loan officer at Embrace Home Loans today to learn about your VA eligibility and loan options. We’re here to help.