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A Guide to Military Children and VA Loans

At a Glance

Let’s explore the eligibility requirements for VA loans and whether or not children of Veterans qualify.

The VA loan program was created to ensure the security of service members and their families. VA loan benefits, including competitive rates and no down payment, reward service members for the sacrifices they made for our country.

With these amazing benefits and more, many wonder if the sons and daughters of Veterans can get a VA loan or if VA loans can be transferred to a child. Let’s explore the relationship between VA loans and military children.

If my father was a Veteran, can I get a VA loan?

Generally, VA loans are not available to the children of Veterans unless they themselves meet the VA loan criteria.

To meet VA loan eligibility requirements, you need to be one of the following:

  • You are a Veteran who has served on active duty and received an honorable discharge
  • You are currently an active-duty service member
  • You are a member of the National Guard or Reserves and have completed at least six years of service, or you have been called to active duty at some point
  • You are the surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability

Can a VA loan be transferred to a child?

VA loans can be transferred to children in the form of VA loan assumptions. However, this process is somewhat uncommon and does come with its own challenges.

VA loan assumptions between a Veteran parent and child are most common when the Veteran dies and their child wishes to keep their home with the same loan terms. The child can assume the VA loan to maintain the same interest rate, monthly payment amounts and no private mortgage insurance requirement. Otherwise, the child would have to pursue non-VA financing, pay the remaining mortgage balance in cash or sell the home.

It’s possible for a child to assume a living Veteran’s VA loan, but there are financial implications to be aware of. Loan assumers should pay the original borrower for the equity they’ve already built on the loan. Otherwise, the original borrower stands to lose thousands of dollars they’ve already invested in the home.

If the loan assumer is not a Veteran with their own VA loan entitlement, the original borrower’s entitlement will remain tied up in the home until the loan is entirely repaid. This can limit the original borrower’s ability to reuse their VA loan benefits, which can be lost entirely if the home undergoes foreclosure.

Children and Joint VA Loans

Eligible Veterans can help their children achieve homeownership through a joint VA loan, although it does have some caveats.

In a joint VA loan, the Veteran and their child would apply together, with the child serving as a co-borrower. Since the Veteran meets eligibility requirements, the child would only be required to meet the lender’s financial requirements.

However, the Veterans VA loan guaranty only applies to their portion of the loan, so the co-borrowing child would likely have to make a down payment. Additionally, the Veteran must use the home as their primary residence, as required by VA loan occupancy requirements. This means the Veteran must live with their child if they take the joint VA loan route.

Joint VA loans can be a risky venture for the Veteran if their child has a damaged financial profile or struggles to make payments. If the child defaults, they are not privy to the Veteran’s VA loan entitlement, and their parent will become responsible for paying for the full home.

Surviving Spouses, Children and VA Loans

Surviving spouses eligible for a VA loan may be able to help their children buy a home. Like a joint VA loan, surviving spouses and children can go 50/50 on a home purchase, but the VA loan, its benefits and entitlement will all be tied to the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse must also use the home as their primary residence.

What benefits are available to children of Veterans?

Dependents of Veterans may qualify for certain benefits, like healthcare, life insurance and financial aid for education. There are a variety of survivor and dependent benefits available through the VA.

The Bottom Line

Children cannot use their Veteran parent’s VA loan benefits, but it’s not impossible for a Veteran or their surviving spouse to help their child with a VA loan of their own. Doing so can be challenging, so it’s best to contact a Veterans United VA loan expert at 573-876-2600 to discuss your options.

About Our Editorial Process

Veterans United is recognized as the leading VA lender in the nation, unmatched in our specialization and expertise in VA loans. Our strict adherence to accuracy and the highest editorial standards guarantees our information is based on thoroughly vetted, unbiased research. Committed to excellence, we offer guidance to our nation's Veterans, ensuring their homebuying experience is informed, seamless and secured with integrity.

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