Quakes can affect VA home mortgages
President Bush declared Hawaii a disaster area due to the earthquake. What does this mean for my VA home loan if my residence is damaged?
Answer: You should contact your mortgage company as soon as possible regarding your loss. You are not excused from making your regular loan payments even if your home is not habitable. You should discuss forbearance or possible extension or modification of your loan with the mortgage company if you are unable to make your payments on time. File insurance claims as soon as possible. However, do not make a hasty settlement on insurance. Attempt to get the city engineer's office to make an inspection for structural damage, when the property is damaged but repairable. If a city engineer is not obtainable, an inspection by a licensed professional engineer should be obtained before agreeing to an insurance loss settlement. You need to begin the disaster application process by calling FEMA's toll free number, (800) 621-3362. You must register with FEMA. You cannot obtain assistance for uninsured losses or damages to your home from the Small Business Administration or any other disaster recovery agency if you have not registered with FEMA. If you are receiving a monthly benefit check from VA or another source, and you will not be able to receive mail at your regular address, notify your local post office and VA of your change of address. You can contact the VA at (800) 827-1000. If you are experiencing difficulties, talk to a VA loan service representative by calling the same number. You can also visit the VA Web site at www.homeloans.va.gov
Q: What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?
A: Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service to their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor those who served in the military -- in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to national security are appreciated, and to underscore that all those who served -- not only those who died -- have sacrificed and done their duty. This year the VA launched the Veterans Pride initiative to rally America's veterans and their survivors to express patriotism and pride in past military service by encouraging all veterans to wear their medals or miniature replicas on national holidays beginning with Veterans Day.
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.