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VA Home Loans for National Guard Members

The Department of Veterans Affairs has eliminated an expiration date on its VA home loan policy, allowing VA mortgages to members of the National Guard with qualifying full-time service. Thanks to policy updates in 2024, Guard Members will benefit from expanded VA loan eligibility rules until the Department of Veterans Affairs says otherwise.

In 2020, the passage of the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 changed VA home loan benefits eligibility to include qualifying National Guard members.

This act expanded the definition of a VA home loan program veteran to include those who perform full-time National Guard duty, regardless of when.

The VA loan provision was initially limited and had a fixed end date. However, in 2024, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a VA loan policy update noting the policy is effective “until rescinded,” which doesn’t make the rule “permanent” but certainly gets closer to doing so. Many “until rescinded” VA policies are on the books indefinitely for various reasons.

National Guard Eligibility for VA Home Loans

Expanded VA loan eligibility for National Guard troops was implemented thanks to a VA Circular published in 2021, which included the following guidance:

“Certain members of the Army National Guard of the United States or the Air National Guard of the United States are now eligible for VA home loan benefits. To be eligible, the member must have performed not less than 90 cumulative days of full-time National Guard duty, of which, at least 30 of those days must have been consecutive.”

The definition of “full-time” in this case includes training or “other duty” for which the National Guard member “has waived pay from the United States.” Full-time duty for VA loan purposes does NOT include inactive duty, monthly drill weekends, or basic training.

Retroactive VA Home Loan Benefits

Under the rules, if you have any qualifying National Guard service, regardless of the year or era of service, you are encouraged to apply for VA home loan benefits. If you, as a Guard member, applied previously but were denied, the VA says you should try again under the new guidelines.

The expanded access to VA mortgages is offered to all who qualify. But to do so you must apply for a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility.

Applying For a VA Home Loan as a National Guard Member

Applying for VA home loan benefits requires gathering some critical paperwork to get started.

If you have qualifying service as a former member of the National Guard, you’ll need discharge documents, plus any statement of lost time. You will also need a statement of military service showing which state and branch of the Guard you served in.

According to VA.gov, National Guard members still serving on active duty must furnish a current Statement of Service “which identifies the National Guard member by name and Social Security Number” and shows your “date of entry for the current active duty period,” plus the duration of any time lost “or a statement noting there has been no lost time.”

Some may need to furnish a copy of retirement point statements or NGB 23 Form, National Guard Bureau Retirement Credits Record.”

For all applications, the Department of Veterans Affairs notes when submitting an application to the VA for home loan benefits, you can sidestep common processing problems by “listing in block 9C any qualifying active duty National Guard time served.”

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About the author


Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.