National Guard troops who have been supporting the COVID-19 response may soon be eligible for a zero down payment loan under the Veterans Affairs home loans.
The National Guard’s extended deployment as part of the pandemic response may now fall under Title 32, which would allow them to qualify for the home loan guaranty benefit. Former president Donald Trump signed legislation—the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act—on Jan. 5, prior to leaving office.
Under the new law, National Guard troops who have served at least 90 days of qualifying Title 32 active duty service as well as those who served at least 30 days now could be eligible for the loan, the Military Times reports. Tens of thousands of National Guard troops have participated in the nationwide COVID-19 response in 2020.
“VA is ready to ensure that members of the National Guard who qualify with expanded eligibility requirements will have access to their home loan benefits,” Susan Carter, director of the VA’s office of media relations, told the Military Times.
Prior, National Guard members qualified only after completing at least six years of honorable service, mobilized for activity duty service for a period of at least 90 days, or had been discharged because of a service-connected disability.
The bill is “recognition that the benefits gap [between full-time National Guard duty and active duty] is no longer appropriate,” John Goheen, communications director for the National Guard Association of the United States, told the Military Times.
As more information on availability and eligibility becomes available, VA will update its site for National Guard members at VA.gov/housing-assistance/home-loans/eligibility.
“New Law Expands VA Loan Eligibility for Guard, COVID-19 Vets,” Military Times (Jan. 5, 2021) and “Home ownership Will Soon Be Easier for Some Members of the National Guard,” ABC-WCPO Cincinnati (Feb. 1, 2021)