The VA loan was established in 1944 to help military service members buy a home after returning from World War II. The popular program, backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, helps enlisted service members, veterans, and their families achieve their dreams of home ownership. And now, thanks to legislation that was recently passed, members of the National Guard will have expanded VA loan benefits.
Until last January, National Guard troops were only eligible for a VA loan after six years of Guard service, 90 days of continuous federal Active-Duty service (Title 10), or 181 days of non-wartime because of a service-connected injury. The new law, called the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act, allows Guard troops to be eligible for the loan if they have served at least 90 days of qualifying Title 32 active duty service, including a period of at least 30 days consecutively. In addition, the surviving spouses of affected Guard members are also eligible for VA home loans under the new law. The eligibility is expanded retroactively and will affect tens of thousands of Guard members.
The new law also expands eligibility for the Fry Scholarship for the children and dependents of Veterans. In addition, it removes the requirement that the death of a veteran had occurred while on federal active duty, adding that the death could have happened while on weekend drills or other training exercises.