How a Veteran’s Spouse Can Get a VA Certificate of Eligibility

How a Veteran’s Spouse Can Get a VA Certificate of Eligibility

Loans through the VA are a valuable benefit available to service members meeting certain requirements. Veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their surviving spouse are eligible to participate in these benefits. Can a spouse of a veteran get a VA loan after their passing?

Yes – they offer opportunities that most other loans cannot provide – such as the ability to refinance your home up to 100% of its value, the ability to buy a home with no down payment, etc.

However, you will need to submit a Certificate of Eligibility to qualify for these VA surviving spouse benefits. You will find in this article more information regarding the VA loan Certificate of Eligibility, including what it is, how to obtain it, and how it is used.

What Is a Certificate of Eligibility?

The Certificate of Eligibility for a VA loan from the Department of Veterans Affairs means that you are eligible for VA loans. The Department will confirm that you meet the requirements. Moreover, it will give you an idea of how much you are eligible for a VA loan and if you have to pay a VA financing fee.

Related Article: VA Loan Eligibility Criteria: 7 Uniformed Services, Spouses & Reserves

VA Loan Spouse Requirements

To benefit from a VA loan, you must possess a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) which confirms that you meet the service requirement. Although there are multiple ways to get a Certificate of Eligibility – some easier than others – not everyone is aware of each of them.

If you are the spouse of a Veteran who meets at least one of the following criteria, you may qualify for a COE.

  • In the case of a missing veteran, or
  • Veterans are either prisoner of war (POWs) or
  • If you did not remarry the Veteran who died while on active duty or from a service-connected disability,
  • Before the age of 57 or before December 16, 2003, you did not remarry. Your veteran has died in service or suffered a service-connected disability.

Documents a Spouse Needs to Get the COE

To obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, spouses of veterans must provide the following documents

  • The Veteran’s DD214 (or other separation papers) if available, and
  • A copy of your marriage license, and
  • The Veteran’s death certificate

How to Apply for the Certificate of Eligibility as a Spouse

As a veteran’s spouse, your application depends on whether you receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). We have mentioned below both the steps :

Receiving DIC Benefits

First, you must be receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits to be eligible for a Certificate of Eligibility as a surviving spouse. For Survivor’s Pension and Accrued Benefits, you will need to complete VA Form 21P-534EZ, Survivor’s Pension and/or Accrued Benefits, if you have not yet applied for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits.

Not Receiving DIC Benefits

In case you do not receive the DIC benefits, you will need to fill out a VA Form 21P-534EZ, Application for DIC, Survivors Pension, and Accrued Benefits, if you do not receive the DIC benefits.

Additionally, you will need:

  • A copy of the Veteran’s DD214 (or other separation papers) if it is available, and
  • You should also submit a copy of your marriage license
  • Veterans’ death certificates

Next Steps for Applying for a VA Loan

The process of applying for a VA Loan may seem daunting to some borrowers. However, it becomes easier to comprehend the process when broken down into simple steps.

  • Make sure your lender is VA-approved
  • You need to get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
  • Check your loan amount pre-qualification (optional)
  • The lender orders a VA appraisal and processes the application
  • Getting Your Loan Closed

Benefits of Getting a VA Backed Home Loan

The VA Loan Program is offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is designed to facilitate the purchase of a home by active-duty military personnel, veterans, and other groups eligible for an affordable rate.

Among many other advantages, VA loans require no down payment, do not require mortgage insurance, have lenient rules about qualification, and do not require escrow accounts or second mortgages.

No Down Payment

In most cases, no money down is required for VA mortgages. Home loans with no down payment are particularly helpful for lower-ranking junior enlisted personnel.

In most cases, to qualify for the most popular home loan programs, you will need to make a small down payment. An exception to this rule is the VA home loan. The VA home loan allows you to finance up to 100% of the house’s purchase price instead of paying 5%, 10%, 20% of the purchase price upfront in cash. Getting a VA loan is a great way to buy a home without putting money down.

Flexible Credit Requirements

Whether you qualify for a loan depends on your credit history. In terms of credit scores, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not have a minimum requirement. Mortgage lenders determine their own minimum credit scores. Mortgage lenders typically require scores between 600 and 660. Many VA lenders are looking for a credit score of at least 620. 

Compared to other types of home loans, VA-backed loans have flexible credit requirements.

No Funding Fee Payment

You will be charged a ‘funding fee’ on your VA loan depending on the amount, the type of service you qualify for, the amount of your down payment, and other factors. Funding fees do not need to be paid in cash, and VA loans allow them to be financed, so closing is not required.

VA borrowers are not required to pay it in all cases. As a general rule, VA funding fees are waived for veterans receiving disability compensation from the VA and surviving spouses of veterans who died while serving or due to a service-connected disability.

Mortgage Insurance Not Required

Lenders usually require mortgage insurance if you pay less than 20% of a home’s purchase price as a down payment.

The lender would be protected if you defaulted on a conventional loan or if you failed to make payments on an FHA loan through this insurance, sometimes called private mortgage insurance (PMI) or mortgage insurance premium (MIP).

It is not necessary to make a down payment for VA loans, nor is it essential to purchase mortgage insurance. Consequently, VA-backed mortgages do not have a significant upfront or re-financing expense.

Can Use This VA Benefit Multiple Times

VA loans do not have any limit as to how many times you can use them. VA loan lenders can reestablish, reuse, and restore the Veterans’ entitlements over an unlimited period so long as the Veteran meets the requirements.

Related Article: VA Loan Calculator

A Veteran’s Spouse Can Get VA Home Loans

To receive surviving spouse VA benefits, one must submit the COE form as discussed in the article. It is important to know if you do or do not qualify for these benefits. Veteran spouses are eligible for a VA loan if they have not remarried and they meet specific requirements, which include:

  • The service member’s spouse died during the service or has a service-related disability.
  • The spouse of the applicant was either missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW) for at least 90 days (limited to one use of the benefit).
  • Their spouse had been continuously totally disabled for the required period and had been entitled to disability compensation at the time of their death regardless of the cause.
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