Direct VA Loans

Veterans Benefits Improvement Act 2010 and VA Loans

On October 13, 2010, President Obama signed the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act 2010. The bill makes certain changes and improvements to VA benefits, like VA loans, and policies including the following matters:

  • Employment, small business and education
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
  • Insurance
  • Burial and cemetery
  • Compensation and pension
  • Employment and reemployment rights of members of the uniformed services
  • VA Benefits
  • Authorization of medical facility projects and major medical facility leases
  • Other matters

The bill, originally sent as a draft from Secretary Shinseki to Speaker Pelosi, underwent several revisions before it became law.  Shinseki stated in a letter that accompanied the draft to Pelosi that his intent was to make beneficial changes to enhance the efficiency and fairness of several VA program benefits for veterans and their families.

Veterans Improvement Bill Included VA Loan Program Changes

Several improvements included in the bill involve the VA home loan program. The first regards changes to the VA funding fee. Before the bill, veterans who received disability compensation have been exempt from paying the VA funding fee associated with VA loans. In Title III of the new bill the funding fee exemption is extended to those military members who received disability compensation in the past, but no longer receive it due to reenlistment or recall to active duty, resulting in active duty pay that replaces disability compensation. The new VA funding fee extension is effective immediately.

Another change as a result of the bill involves Specialty Adapted Housing (SAH). SAH is necessary for veterans disabled in the line of duty or as a result of a service-connected injury. Common SAH adaptations can include wheel chair ramps, lifts, and specially adapted appliances and fixtures for wheel chair accessibility. Effective October 1, 2011, VA Secretary Shinseki is authorized to award up to one million dollars per year in grants to research and develop assistive technologies for SAH use. This grant authorization will end September 30, 2016.

Another improvement made by the bill has to do with payment of outstanding VA-guaranteed loans. If a VA-guaranteed mortgage has been modified and the VA borrower is still unable to repay the loan, then the VA Secretary is authorized to pay the mortgage holder the balance of the loan plus any interest. This would result in a VA debt owed by the borrower.

For more information about new legislation for VA home loans as a result of the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act 2010, contact an experienced VA mortgage professional.

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