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Determining VA loan eligibility

In order to be considered for the VA home loan program, a borrower must meet military service requirements. The eligibility requirements vary depending on when the military service was completed, but can be summarized as follows:

• 90 days of active duty during wartime

• 181 days of continuous active duty during peacetime

• 6 years of service for Reservist/National Guard

For applications involving military discharges that are other than honorable, the VA determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

A potential VA borrower must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) before applying for a veterans' mortgage. The certificate shows the lender how much entitlement a borrower has available.

Borrowers who are eligible for a VA loan can enjoy:

• No down payment (100 percent financing)

• No private mortgage insurance (PMI)

• Relaxed qualifying standards

• Competitive interest rates

• No penalties for mortgage pre-payment

• Cash-out and debt consolidation

• Streamline rate reduction

Ultimately, the VA determines whether a person is eligible for VA home loan benefits. For more information on your own eligibility, you can contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or speak with a VA loan professional.

2012 COLA released

Military and federal civilian retirees, survivor benefit annuitants, disabled veterans and Social Security recipients will see a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment in January, their first since 2009. The 3.6 percent COLA will be effective Dec. 1 and will be reflected in January retired pay, SBP, Social Security, and VA disability compensation checks.

Please see your local county veterans service officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by e-mail at As always, have a great week.