VA Notes by Willie Dougherty

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VA Home Programs Help Veterans with Special Needs

If you are entitled to permanent and total service-related compensation due to the loss or loss of use of both lower extremities or a disability that includes blindness in both eyes or other disability combinations, you might be able to qualify for the VA program for veterans who need special homes or special alterations done in their home.

Provisions are as Follows;

A one-time grant with a maximum of $38,000.

The grant may not exceed 50 percent of the cost of building a new home, buying an existing home or adapting a home you may already own.

You may use the grant to pay off or reduce an existing balance.

If you have unused entitlement, you may also qualify for a VA-guaranteed or direct loan in addition to the grant. If private financing is not available, the VA can make direct loans up to $33,000.

Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance coverage is available until your 7Oth birthday and pays off the mortgage in case of death with a maximum benefit of $90,000.

Special Home Adaptations;

This program is designed to help with alterations to a home that you already own. But you can also use this grant in the purchase of a new or existing home. To be eligible, you must have a service-connected disability entitling you to compensation for permanent and total disability due to blindness in both eyes or the loss or loss of use of both hands.

Program Highlights include;

VA may approve a one-time grant of up to $6,500 for special features in an existing home to special needs. If the home already has the features needed, then the grant is determined by the fair market value of the improvements rather than the actual cost.

The grant can be used to construct ramps, widen hallways, remodel kitchens, bathrooms and other approved alterations to accommodate the particular needs of the veteran.

A veteran can also use this grant to adapt a home his/her family owns or is planning on buying.

This grant cannot be used in addition to the $38,000 grant above, except if the veteran's health and needs change, then an exception can be made on a case-by-case basis.

Q. What kinds of homes are available under VA's acquired properties listings?

A. VA often has a range of properties available, including single-family detached dwellings, multiple family units (up to four-plex), condominiums and townhouses. The properties are available for sale to the general public through the services of private-sector real estate brokers.

Q. How and when are these properties listed?

A. VA manages and sells acquired properties through 46 VA regional offices. Some VA offices issue sales listings, at least monthly, by direct mail to participating real estate brokers and others place sales in local newspapers. The properties are available for sale to the general public through the services of private-sector real estate brokers. Real estate brokers assist prospective purchasers in finding, viewing and offering to purchase the properties. VA pays the sales commission. Prospective purchasers should contact a local real estate broker of their choice for additional information.

Q. How can I obtain the latest listings electronically?

A. Many VA offices maintain electronic bulletin boards that include information about the property sales program and a list of the properties available for sale. A list of the telephone numbers of these bulletin boards is available in a "Homes for Sales" files on VA's national bulletin board, VA-Online (1-800-871-8387), under the Veterans Benefits Menu.

Q. What are the minimum service requirements to be eligible for a VA home loan?

A. If you served in a wartime period before September 7,1980, (enlisted) or October 16, 1981, (officer), the service requirement is at least 90 days. For veterans of peacetime eras, the requirement is 181 continuous days of service. Veterans serving after those 1980 or 1981 dates must have served 24 months or the full period for which they were called, but not less than 181 days peacetime of 90 days wartime. If you are now on active duty you are eligible after 90 days.

Willie Dougherty

The Veterans Voice of Austin Winner of "TOP VET SITE" Award

POWs Bring 'EM Home