Our Hawaii VA Loans social media (@hawaiivaloans) has received a few questions recently about whether or not family members of Veterans can qualify for a VA home loan. Thus, it’s important to reiterate that it is the Veteran who meets the eligibility for active or reserve duty that qualifies. However, there is another family member who could receive VA loan benefits if the situation permits. That person is the Veteran’s surviving spouse.

What Is the Criteria for a Surviving Spouse to Qualify for a VA Home Loan?

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the surviving spouse may obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) as long as one of the following are true:

  • The Veteran is missing in action, or
  • The Veteran is a prisoner of war (POW), or
  • The Veteran died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn’t remarry, or
  • The Veteran died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn’t remarry before you were 57 years old or before December 16, 2003, or
  • The Veteran had been totally disabled and then died, but their disability maybe not have been the cause of death (in certain situations)

Read more details about the surviving spouse criteria here.

How Does a Surviving Spouse Obtain a COE?

The process for obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility differs for surviving spouses who are receiving Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and those who are not. Below www.va.gov outlines the steps:

If you’re receiving DIC benefits

You’ll need to fill out a Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility—Unmarried Surviving Spouses (VA Form 26-1817).

Download VA Form 26-1817 (PDF)

You’ll also need the Veteran’s DD214 (or other separation papers) if available.

Get military service records online

Submit the form and discharge or separation papers to:

If you’re not receiving DIC benefits

You’ll first need to fill out an Application for DIC, Survivors Pension and/or Accrued Benefits (VA Form 21P-534EZ).

Download VA Form 21P-534EZ (PDF)

You’ll also need:

  • The Veteran’s DD214 (or other separation papers) if available, and
  • A copy of your marriage license, and
  • The Veteran’s death certificate

Get military service records online

Submit the form and documents to the VA pension management center that serves your state.

Information Source: https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/home-loans/surviving-spouse/

Can a Surviving Spouse Do a VA Refinance?

A surviving spouse CAN do a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (VA IRRRL) if the spouse and deceased veteran were:

1) Married before the last VA transaction, and 

2) is also on the NOTE and TITLE.  

The surviving spouse CANNOT do a VA IRRRL if they married after the last VA transaction.

For more information on any of the information above or regarding your own VA home loan eligibility, contact us at 808-792-4251 or visit us at www.hawaiivaloans.com/coe. You can also download our VA Homebuyer’s Guide that will answer Eligibility questions and much, much more – FREE. ~ Aloha!