Veterans Legislation Recap
Veterans legislation in 2010 --
by Robert Stretch
As we celebrate Veterans Day 2010, we take this opportunity to review crucial veterans legislation this year.
VA Home Loans
During the past few years, legislation concerning the VA Home Loans program has changed certain provisions, for borrowers’ benefit. In 2010, there were additional VA loan changes and other enactments or bills designed to help service members and veterans.
- VA Funding Fee Changes
A major change regarding the VA funding fee, a tiny charge to borrowers in the VA Home Loan program, was announced in October. Per the Veterans’ Benefit Act of 2010, fewer veterans will have to pay the VA funding fee. Veterans who qualified for VA disability compensation were already exempted from paying the funding fee. Now, exemption from the fee has been extended to service members who reenlisted and receive duty pay.
Exemption from the VA funding fee — which is a charge to help keep the program afloat — can be a major savings. For service members and vets, the fee can be as high as 2.15 percent of a loan’s value, but note that it can be added to the loan balance, which will result in a small increase in your monthly payments.
- Homebuyer Tax Credit
Another major piece of veterans legislation extended the homebuyer tax credit for military homebuyers. The extensions apply to eligible members of the Armed Forces, Foreign Service and intelligence agencies who served extended duty overseas. Using the tax credit requires qualified members to sign a binding sales contract on a home by April 30, 2011 and close that deal by July 30, 2011.
"Extended duty" is defined as at least 90 days overseas between Jan. 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010. Although the extensions came with certain qualifying terms such as income and previous homeownership, the tax credit can be of significant savings on starter homes valued at $150,000 or less. First-time and repeat military homebuyers can use the credit, and can couple it with a VA Home Loan.
Still in the House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity is an ambitious piece of veterans legislation that has homelessness among veterans in its crosshairs. The bipartisan act outlines practices the Department of Veterans Affairs would adopt to keep veterans from seeking shelter on the streets after a VA loan foreclosure. The VA estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless, and VA loan defaults rose between 2007 and 2009, causing concerns about additional veterans joining the ranks of the homeless.
As we celebrate Veterans Day 2010, there’s no better time to rally for this fresh piece of legislation while highlighting enacted measures that serve our heroes in return for their service.
Guest author Robert Stretch writes for VABenefitBlog.com, whose goal is to educate veterans about their VA benefits. He also writes for VAMortgageCenter.com, the #1 dedicated VA purchase lender in the nation, securing VA home loans for more than half a million military families.
Learn more about VA Home Loans from the nation's #1 VA purchase lender, VA Mortgage Center.com.
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