For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

New VA home loan
limit rises to $359,700
from $240,000

Question: I heard that the VA home loan limit has risen. What is it up to now?

Answer: Legislation recently signed by President Bush means veterans will be able to get no-downpayment loans of up to $359,700. The previous ceiling was $240,000. VA-guaranteed home loans are made by banks and mortgage companies to veterans, service members and reservists.

The changes took effect Dec. 10. The law also allows for loan limits to keep pace with rising home values. The new law allows VA to guarantee one-year adjustable rate mortgages and it extends, through 2008, VA's "hybrid ARM program," which allows veterans to lock in a favorable interest rate for at least three years. More information about VA home loan benefits is available at www.homeloans.va.gov.

Q: I would like to donate my husband's burial flag to Punchbowl National Cemetery. Is this possible even though he passed away some time ago?

A: The National Cemetery of the Pacific would be happy to receive your husband's burial flag. Punchbowl utilizes donated burial flags to display an Avenue of Flags on patriotic holidays and other special events throughout the year. For information on how to donate your flag, contact the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at 532-3720.

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 gkakesako@starbulletin.com.

See also: In The Military

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