Today we’re gonna talk about the certificate of eligibility and what it takes to get one and what it means in having one when it comes to the VA home loan.
So here’s the thing that you need to think about with this. The certificate of eligibility is like if you wanted to go to Disneyland and ride the rides, you need a ticket to get into Disneyland.
The certificate is your ticket to get into using the VA home loan benefit. You get your certificate of eligibility from the VA. They check your time, service, if you’re a veteran and make sure that your type of discharge is other than dishonorable. So the thing about the certificate that’s interesting is if you’re looking to get it, you can get it yourself. You can if you have an ebenefits account if they still have that website. You can go through the ebenefits account, go to the certificate of eligibility and order your own. Or you go to your lender and a lender who is proficient at doing VA home loans, they are going to order the certificate of eligibility for your lenders. Lenders proficient at doing this are electronically connected to VA. We go through a different door to the same place you would go through the ebenefits account.
We put in two pieces of information, the two pieces are your social security number and the year you were born. We input those two things and about 80% of the time we’re going to get your certificate of eligibility back in 30 seconds.
A lot of people will tell me that they have ordered their certificate of eligibility. They mail in for it. Well, I’m telling you right now, especially with everything with COVID and people working from home, if you mail in for a certificate, it might take 30 days for you to get something back and if it doesn’t come through because you need more paperwork, it’s going to take you longer than that.
If you have a lender who tells you go to them and they tell you, hey, go get your certificate of eligibility and come back. That’s your first red flag that this lender does not do enough VA to understand that they can be connected to the VA electronically. My advice to you would be if that’s what they tell you, you back out and you go find another lender that is proficient at doing VA home loans. Because any lender can do VA, which is great if they’re willing to help you. But it can be challenging for somebody who doesn’t do it a lot and maybe the process is going to be harder.
Here’s what you need to actually get your tickets. So the qualifications basics are, and I say the basics because there’s little extra nuances which you can look up at VA.gov.
But as a lender when you come to us we can run through the math that we can look at your qualifications and see if we think it’s going to work.
And by the way the lender is not the one who determines whether you get your certificate. So we can look at your information, but ultimately, the VA are the ones who determine it.
So the basics are
- 90 days of active duty service during wartime or 181 days during peacetime.
- We have been at war since the Gulf War started. If you’re active, you’ve gone into the service, you’ve gone through basic training, you’ve gone through AIT and now you’re serving, all that time counts. Once you hit 90 days now, you could apply for a certificate of eligibility and use your home loan benefit.
- If you have served your 90 days and for some reason you got out and it wasn’t service connected and you don’t serve two years, then you may not be eligible.
- You have to have 24 months of service if you’re a veteran depending on when you served. And so just remember that this, there’s a lot of different variables here.
- If you are in the active reserves or were in the reserves, you have to have served at least six years to be eligible for a certificate of eligibility with all of your participation points.
- So you need to have at least 16 points of service to be able to get your certificate of eligibility. However, if you’re called up for active duty and you hit 90 days, now you’re eligible.
- National Guard, it’s the same as the reserve, six years getting all your participation points or you have served 90 days on title, 10 federal orders. Now you’re eligible as of this year, there is a new rule that allows for National Guardsmen and this is retroactive.
- National Guardsmen if you’ve been called up for title 32 state orders and you served 90 days on state orders, so long as at least 30 of those days were consecutive, you are now going to be eligible to use the VA home loan benefit.
- Surviving spouses are also eligible
- So if you are a surviving spouse of someone who died because of a service connected cause or they died while in service, if you are unremarried and you are receiving DIC, Dependent and Indemnity Compensation, you can be eligible to use the VA home loan benefit.
- If you are a surviving spouse of somebody who was a POW or they were missing in action, then you may be eligible to use the VA Home loan benefit as well.
- If you are active duty you are going to have a DD 214. So the documentation that we need, the documentation that you will need to provide if we can’t get this electronically if you serve active, it would be a DD 214 member copy and if you are in Reserves we are going to need your point statements.
- The National Guard will need your NGB 22 and NGB 23. If we’re falling under Title 32 orders we’re probably going to need orders. This is brand new. So we may need some extra information there to verify your orders and whether you actually served for active duty members.
We get what’s called a statement of service and the statement of service goes on your command letterhead. We give you a template that says what they need to provide on this document. But basically it’s going to be your full name, your social security number, your date of birth, the date you entered into service, any lost time and your commands name and personnel person can sign it or the adjutant can sign that document. So there’s a lot of different moving parts to this when it comes to documentation and the qualifications.
But remember as I always tell everybody, the answer is no if you don’t ask. Find a lender that can order your certificate electronically. Those are the people that you want to work with. We’d be happy to help you with that.