VA program helps troops transition to civilian career
What is the Department of Veterans Affairs doing to help returning servicemen and women from their combat tours find employment should they leave active duty?
Answer: The VA has a comprehensive program to ease the transition from military service to civilian life. The program focuses on linking Iraqi and Afghan wars service members to existing resources through local and regional job markets, regardless of where they separate, where they return, or the career or education they pursue. This initiative will combine the efforts of federal, state and private-sector entities to address their employment needs.
Q: How do I go about obtaining a VA Home Loan?
A: Veterans who qualify for the home loan benefit may obtain a no-down-payment home loan of up to $359,650. Qualified veterans purchasing a home in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands may obtain a no-down-payment home loan of up to $539,475. There are five steps: (1) Apply for a certificate of eligibility (check out www.homeloans.va.gov); (2) Decide on a home and sign a purchase agreement; (3) Order an appraisal from VA (this is done by the lender); (4) Apply to a mortgage lender for the loan; (5) Close the loan.
While the appraisal is being done, the lender can be gathering credit and income information. If the lender is authorized by VA to process loans on the automatic basis (approximately 99 percent of all VA loans are processed this way), the loan can be approved and closed upon receipt of the appraised value determination, without waiting for a VA review of the credit application. For loans that must be approved by VA, lenders send the credit package to VA, where staff will review it and notify the lender of the decision.
For further information, contact the VA at (800) 827-1000. You can also review the main VA Home Loan Guaranty Web site at www.homeloans.va.gov. For specific VA forms, visit www.va.gov/vaforms.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.
Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin, can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org