The VA home loan benefit is available to qualifying spouses of a service member who died while on active duty or after active duty if the VA determines the cause of death to be related to military service.
According to the VA official site, in most cases the surviving spouse must be unmarried, but there are exceptions. “…a surviving spouse of a veteran who dies on active duty or from service-connected causes, may still be eligible if remarried on or after age 57 and on or after December 16, 2003.”
The VA official site adds that VA loan benefit eligibility may also “be granted to the spouse of an active duty member who is listed as missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW) for at least 90 days. Eligibility under this MIA/POW provision is limited to one-time use only.”
In certain cases, the surviving spouses of veterans who died “from non-service connected causes” may also be eligible for the VA home loan benefit in cases where the following circumstances are applicable: the veteran was rated totally disabled for 10 years or more immediately preceding death; or the veteran was rated totally disabled for not less than five years from date of discharge or release from active duty to date of death.
The VA loan benefit is also available to surviving spouses of a veteran who is listed as a ”former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999, and was rated totally disabled for not less than one year immediately preceding death” according to chapter two of the VA Lender’s Handbook.
Surviving spouses who want to apply for the VA loan benefit must submit VA form 26-1817 (available to download on the VA official site) and the veteran’s DD214 to show proof of service and military discharge.
This form can be submitted through the lender or via regular U.S. mail to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA official site advises borrowers who cannot print the form to contact the VA directly at 1-877-827-3702 and the form will be mailed to the address the caller provides.
Those who choose to submit the form directly rather than going through a lender must submit the form to the VA Loan Eligibility Center at the following address:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
Attn: COE (262)
PO Box 100034
Decatur, GA 30031