A military veteran wears his uniform and salutes, facing away from the camera.
U.S. military veterans can be eligible to receive housing benefits.

Veterans of the United States Armed Forces are eligible for various assistance programs. Some include housing benefits from the Office of Veterans Affairs (VA). Here are some key benefits available to veterans that can help them pay for housing or upgrade their existing homes, especially as they age.

What are veterans’ benefits?

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), to be eligible for veterans benefits, one must have served on active duty in the U.S. uniformed services, including active National Guard and Reserve, with federal pay. These benefits help veterans cover the costs of housing, health care, and other needs after service. 

Veterans can access housing benefits in many ways, including grants, assistance programs, and direct and VA-backed loans. Direct VA home loans often have better terms than private lenders’ loans because the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs works as your mortgage lender. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs guarantees a portion of the loan with a VA-backed loan from a private lender.

What are housing benefits available to veterans?

Whether you’re looking to buy, rent, or improve your rates on an existing home, there are benefits to help.

Buying

  • VA Purchase Loans: VA Purchase Loans are available to Veterans and require no down payment or private mortgage insurance. These loans have no penalty for paying them off early and have fewer closing costs. 
  • Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program: Native American veterans and veterans married to a Native American may be eligible for the NADL program. This benefit is reusable, which means those eligible can get more than one NADL and includes a low-interest, 30-year fixed mortgage with no down payment. 

Renting

  • HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH): Those experiencing homelessness can find sustainable permanent housing through the  HUD-VASH collaborative housing assistance program. With HUD-VASH, clinic services and case management provided through the VA are combined with rental assistance services offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV). 
  • National Homeless Veterans Call Center (NHVCC): Homeless Veterans can call the NHVCC and talk with a representative about the severity of their situation to get the assistance they need.

Refinancing

  • Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL): Those with an existing VA home loan looking for better rates can apply for an IRRRL to experience reduced interest rates. 
  • VA-backed cash-out refinance loan: Veterans looking to access their home’s equity to get some extra cash can get a VA-backed cash-out refinance loan. Doing so allows Veterans to refinance a non-VA-backed loan into a VA-backed loan or access their home’s equity to use the funds for things they need, such as paying for debts, college tuition, or home improvements.

Home improvement

  • Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA): Veterans who need medically-necessary home improvements to their primary residence can do so through the HISA benefit. According to the U.S. Department of Affairs, Veterans and Servicemembers with a service-connected condition and Veterans with a non-service-connected condition rated 50% or more service-connected may be eligible for a benefit up to $6,800.
  • Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) and Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grants: Disabled Veterans may be eligible for a SAH or an SHA grant, used to make modifications to help Veterans live independently. Home improvements may include installing ramps, widening doors, or building an adapted home. 

How to apply for veterans benefits

Applying for Veterans benefits will depend on the specific benefit’s requirements, and eligibility will depend on when you served in the Armed Forces. 

For those seeking a disability housing grant, you’ll need to be a current or soon-to-be homeowner and have a documented, qualifying service-connected disability. Those looking for a VA-backed Veterans home loan can apply online for a home loan certificate of eligibility using eBenefits or a lender. Applicants can also complete the process via mail by downloading and filling out the VA Form 26-1880, “Request for Certificate of Eligibility,” and sending it to their state’s Regional Loan Center.

If you or your loved one is a veteran looking to take advantage of the benefits owed to you, ElderLife Financial can help. With our services, you can file for VA benefits, ease the cost of senior living expenses, connect with experienced local realtors, apply for a bridge loan, and more. Find out how Elder Life Financial can help you and your family get support.