In continued support of those who serve in the Armed Forces, the Department of Defense (DoD) recently announced the details of the temporary expansion of the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP), which has been providing financial assistance to military personnel and DoD civilians since 1966.
Under this program, some $555 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will be used to provide partial reimbursement to eligible military personnel, surviving spouses, and federal civilian employees whose service to the country required them to relocate and sell their primary home for less than market value.
Potential eligible personnel include:
- Active as well as former service members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard
- Civilian employees of the DoD, Coast Guard, and non-appropriated fund activities
- Surviving spouses of both fallen service members and civilian employees
Though the expansion was not designed to pay 100 percent of losses incurred, or to cover all declines in value, it certainly helps to shield eligible applicants from the possibility of financial disaster that can result from significant losses in property values.
Since taking care of our military remains as one of the administration’s top priorities, Congress provided ARRA funding in February of 2009 for a temporary expansion of the HAP to address unique economic pressures faced by those forced to relocate during a period of unusually adverse market conditions in the housing industry. After an extensive study to determine how to best prioritize limited available funds while maximizing assistance to as many as possible, the DoD came up with specific criteria to be sure the assistance is being given to those with the greatest need.
Priority is given in order of the following:
1) Homeowners who were wounded, injured, or suffered from illness in the line of duty while deployed after September 11, 2001, and are moving in order to continue necessary medical treatment.
2) Surviving spouses who own a home and relocate within two years following the death of their service member.
3) Homeowners affected by the 2005 BRAC round without the need (which existed under previous law) to prove that the announcement of a base closure caused a decline in the local housing market.
4) Service member homeowners who receive orders for a PCS (Permanent Change of Station) move occurring between February 1, 2006 and December 31, 2009. The orders must specify a report-no-later-than date on or prior to February 28, 2010 to a new location or home port outside a 50-mile radius of the former duty station. (These dates may be extended to September 30, 2012, based on the availability of funds.)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers executes the program for all branches of the Armed Forces. Potentially eligible military personnel who have sold their primary residence for a loss, or are thinking of selling their home, are encouraged to visit the Dod HAP website at hap.usace.army.mil, to verify specific program criteria and see if they qualify. Interested in preparing your military transition? Please visit us online for more information about military tuition assistance and GI bill.
*This article is based on publicly-accessible information and has not been reviewed or approved by any military branch.