Thousands of National Guard Members Now Eligible for VA Home Loans

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Soldiers and Airmen of the Pennsylvania National Guard
Soldiers and Airmen of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Task Force Panther, a 450-member multi-service task force established to assist federal law enforcement in Washington, D.C., stand in formation prior to departing Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. (National Guard/Angela King-Sweigart

A new law makes thousands of National Guard members eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs home loans.

The "Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvements Act of 2020", which became Public Law 116-316, added VA Loan eligibility for National Guard members who have only Title 32 duty.

Guard and reserve members are usually called to active service under two different sections of federal law: Title 10 or Title 32.

Title 32 duty is normally service that is ordered by a governor and takes place within the service member's home state, while Title 10 service is ordered by the president and can involve service in any location worldwide.

The Title 32 duty must have been performed under one of the following sections to qualify:

  • Section 316 -- Detail of members of Army National Guard for rifle instruction of civilians
  • Section 502 -- Required drills and field exercises
  • Section 503 -- Participation in field exercises
  • Section 504 -- National Guard schools and small arms competitions
  • Section 505 -- Army and Air Force schools and field exercises

This means that Guard members who are serving their community by performing duties related to the COVID-19 emergency may be eligible for the popular VA guaranteed home loan.

Those affected also must have completed at least 90 cumulative days of service, 30 of which were consecutive, to be eligible.

Previously, National Guard and Reserve members were eligible for VA-guaranteed home loans only if they had mobilized for at least 90 days of active Title 10 service after Aug. 2, 1990, or had at least six years of total service in their respective branch.

Surviving spouses of affected Guard members are also eligible for VA home loans under the new rules.

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