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Legislation Would Expand Access to VA Home Loans

Washington Report

Lawmakers in both parties and both chambers have teamed up on legislation that would credit service under federal Title 32 toward eligibility for Department of Veterans Affairs home loans.

Currently, National Guardsmen are only eligible for the VA home loan program if they have had 90 consecutive days of active service under orders authorized by Title 10 or if they completed six years of honorable service.

Bills introduced by Sen. Tom Tillis, R-N.C., Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., in the Senate (S. 4176) and Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., in the House (H.R. 7445) would make Title 32 service equivalent to Title 10 for the benefit.

“I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to ensure the brave men and women serving in the National Guard and reserve component have increased access to the VA home loan benefits that they earned,” said Tillis.

“From COVID-19 to floods, fires, and civil unrest, members of the National Guard and Army Reserves have shown that they are ‘always ready, always there,’” Bost said. “The last thing they should have to worry about is whether or not they can receive a home loan from the VA. I’m proud to lead efforts in Congress to ensure that the families of the National Guard and Army Reserves have access to resources to help purchase a home while they are sacrificing so much to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

The measure would expand VA home loan benefits to Guardsmen activated by governors under Title 32 orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest and other domestic missions. 

VA home loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. The VA guarantees a portion of the loan, meaning no money down and no private mortgage insurance. 

“More than 24 million veterans have benefited from the VA home loan program, but a technicality in current law restricts eligibility for some Guardsmen and Reservists, including those who have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Tillis said.

NGAUS strongly endorses the bill.