A great reminder for millitary families who have suffered the loss of a loved on on active duty.
As a surviving spouse I have had the good fortune in the past to use VA to purchase two different homes. It is a benefit that many widows and widowers may overlook when they start a new home search.
VA home loans are a benefit primarily used by military members, but in once case the VA allows non-military people to apply—specifically the surviving spouse of a veteran who has died on active duty or died as a result of military service.
Surviving spouses often have a difficult time in the earliest days of applying for a VA home loan. People in the military have plenty of access to information about their VA loans, everything from on-base counselors to information given out by supervisors and commanders. But spouses who aren’t in the military themselves often get unintentionally left out in the cold. When it comes time for a surviving spouse to apply for a VA home loan, it’s tough for them to know where to start.
Surviving spouses must get eligibility much in the same way veterans themselves do—they have to apply for it by submitting paperwork to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
For spouses of vets who died on active duty, there are two basic groups—those who get Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the VA don’t need to send any additional documents to the VA—they’ve already been entered into the VA system. But those who don’t currently receive DIC should send the following to the VA:
• A copy (not the original) DD Form 1300 Report of Casualty
• A copy of the marriage certificate
• The veteran’s Social Security number (include it on all paperwork sent to the VA)
• A simple signed statement of intent to apply for DIC.
The VA reminds surviving spouses, “If you qualify for the home loan benefit, you probably qualify for monthly payments under DIC.”
Send all paperwork to:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
PO Box 20729
Winston-Salem, NC 27120
The VA asks surviving spouses to apply using VA Form 26-1817. If you can’t print the form, just call 1-888-244-6711 and follow the prompts. The form will be mailed once the call is completed.
In my next blog post I’ll cover what spouses of military members who died on “as a result of military service” must do to claim VA home loan benefits.