Given the challenges servicemembers encounter during their service and upon returning from duty, a variety of programs have become available to recognize the commitment of servicemembers while also creating incentives for national service. Among the many programs available are VA loans that can be used for education, homeownership and various other significant life purchases and which are available for varying service requirements and dependent on one’s branch of service. Understanding National Guard VA loan requirements can help respective servicemembers effectively navigate the various benefits available.
Given that there are currently 440,000 National Guard members serving across all 50 states, understanding National Guard VA loan eligibility is important for easing the transition after members are done serving. The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve is available for traditional and technician National Guard members who have committed at least 6 years to the selective reserve. Once members complete initial basic training and while they remain in good standing with their respective drill units, National Guard members are able to apply educational benefits to various educational expenses, including apprenticeship and licensing programs, vocational school and college tuition.
Another educational benefit available to National Guard members are student loan repayment programs. Benefits differ whether one was a prior service member or only served with the National Guard, though the major difference between the two is what rank you are allowed to have achieved prior to enrolling in the program. As long as members commit to at least 6 years of selective service, funding up to $50,000 is available for repaying pre-existing student loans.
Recent legislative changes have expanded National Guard VA loan eligibility, allowing up to 50,000 National Guard members to take advantage of the many home loan and mortgage opportunities available to those who serve. Current and prior service members with at least 6 years of selective service or National Guard duty can receive a certificate of eligibility, assuming that members were discharged honorably. The benefits of the home loan program are that service members don’t need to make a down payment nor pay for private mortgage insurance for homes up to $484,350, providing an excellent opportunity for National Guard members to make first-time home purchases.
There are a variety of life insurance programs available to service members as well as their family and beneficiaries in response to National Guard service. Service members with at least 12 periods of inactive duty training are eligible for Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, while those separating from the National Guard are eligible for Veterans Group Life Insurance. Both insurance programs offer lower premiums than traditional life insurance. Family members of National Guard servicemembers may also be eligible for Family Servicemembers Group Life insurance if these individuals are a spouse of a dependent.
There are a variety of programs to help National Guard Servicemembers relative to furthering education, purchasing a home or purchasing affordable life insurance. Understanding National Guard VA loan eligibility can help servicemembers make the most of the many benefits being offered to those who serve.