Veterans and other claimants for VA benefits have the right to appeal decisions made by a VA regional office, medical center, or National Cemetery Administration (NCA) office. A claimant has one year from the date of the notification of a VA decision to file an appeal. The first step in the appeal process is for a claimant to file a written notice of disagreement with the VA regional office, medical center, or national cemetery office that made the decision.
Following receipt of the written notice, VA will furnish the claimant a "Statement of the Case" describing what facts, laws, and regulations were used in deciding the case. To complete the request for appeal, the claimant must file a "Substantive Appeal" within 60 days of the mailing of the Statement of the Case, or within one year from the date VA mailed its decision, whichever period ends later.
The Board of Veterans' Appeals ("the Board") makes decisions on appeals on behalf of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Although it is not required, a Veterans service organization, an agent, or an attorney may represent a claimant. Appellants may present their cases in person to a member of the Board at a hearing in Washington, D.C., at a VA regional office or by videoconference.
For more information on the Board of Appeals, please visit www.bva.va.gov.
A final Board of Veterans' Appeals decision that does not grant a claimant the benefits desired may be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The court is an independent body, not part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Notice of an appeal must be received by the court with a postmark that is within 120 days after the Board of Veterans' Appeals mailed its decision. The court reviews the record considered by the Board of Veterans' Appeals. It does not hold trials or receive new evidence.
For more information on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, please visit www.uscourts.cavc.gov.
VA home loan guaranties are issued to help eligible service members, Veterans, Reservists, National Guard, and certain unmarried surviving spouses obtain homes, condominiums, and manufactured homes, and to refinance loans. For additional information or to obtain VA loan guaranty forms, visit www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans.
A VA guaranty helps protect lenders from loss if the borrower fails to repay the loan.
For the up-to-date eligibility requirements for the VA Home Loan Guarantee, please visit https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/home-loans/eligibility/ or www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans.
Lenders can apply for a CoE online through the Veterans Information Portal. Active duty service members and Veterans can also apply online at ebenefits.va.gov/homeloans. Although it's preferable to apply electronically, it is possible to apply for a CoE using VA form 26-1880 "Request for Certificate of Eligibility."
Some spouses of Veterans may be eligible for home loan guaranty. There are three home loan guaranty programs offered to surviving spouses of Veterans and service members. These programs may be used to refinance a mortgage or help purchase, construct, or improve a home. For more information on the types of home loan guaranties available to surviving spouses, please visit www.explore.va.gov/home-loans-and-housing/spouses-dependents-survivors.
No loan can be guaranteed by VA without first being appraised by a VA-assigned fee appraiser. A lender can request a VA appraisal through VA systems. The Veteran borrower typically pays for the appraisal upon completion, according to a fee schedule approved by VA (you can find fee schedule www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/appraiser_fee_schedule.asp. This VA appraisal estimates the value of the property. It is not an inspection and does not guarantee the house is free of defects. VA guarantees the loan, not the condition of the property.
For more information concerning VA Appraisals for Home Loans, please visit www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/appraiser.asp.
For the current VA published information regarding Closing Costs, please visit https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/home-loans/funding-fee-and-closing-costs/.
Generally, all Veterans using the VA Home Loan Guaranty benefit must pay a funding fee. This reduces the loan's cost to taxpayer considering that a VA loan requires no down payment and has no monthly mortgage insurance. The funding fee is a percentage of the loan amount which varies based on the type of loan and your military category. For more specific information concerning Funding Fees and Home Loans, please visit www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/purchaseco_loan_fee.asp.
Veterans obtain VA-guaranteed loans through the usual lending institution, including banks, credit unions, and mortgage brokers. VA-guaranteed loans can have either a fixed interest rate or an adjustable rate, where the interest rate may adjust up to one percent annually and up to five percent over the life of the loan. VA does not set the interest rate. Interest rates are negotiable between the lender and borrower on all loan types.
For information concerning Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans, visit www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/irrrl.asp.
When a VA-guaranteed home loan becomes delinquent, VA may provide supplemental servicing assistance to help cure the default. Veterans with VA-guaranteed home loans can call 1-877-827-3702 to reach the nearest VA office where loan specialties are prepared to discuss potential ways to help save the loan.
For complete details on government life insurance visit www.insurance.va.gov or call VA's Insurance Center toll-free at 1-800-669-8477. Specialists are available between the hours of 8:30am and 6pm, Eastern Time, to discuss premium payments, insurance dividends, address changes, policy loans, naming beneficiaries and reporting the death of the insured.
For information about service members' Group Life Insurance, Veterans Group Life Insurance, service members' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection, or service members' Group Life Insurance Family Coverage, visit the website above or call the Office of service members' Group Life Insurance directly at 1-800-419-1473.
The Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) Program was established in 1951 to meet the insurance needs of certain Veterans with service connected disabilities. S-DVI is available in a variety of permanent plans as well as term insurance. For more specific information concerning Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance, please visit www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/s-dvi.asp.
For the up-to-date list of benefits available to Reserve and National Guard members and their eligibility requirements, please visit www.benefits.va.gov/guardreserve.
The eligibility requirements and type of health care benefits offered to members of the reserves and national guard vary. For specific information concerning what health care benefits you might be eligible for, please visit www.benefits.va.gov/guardreserve, select the tab relevant to you (Active Guard, Active Reserve, Traditional, Technician), and click the learn more about your benefits hyperlink.
The eligibility requirements and type of home loan benefits offered to members of the reserves and national guard vary. For specific information concerning what home loan benefits you might be eligible for, please visit www.benefits.va.gov/guardreserve, select the tab relevant to you (Active Guard, Active Reserve, Traditional, Technician), and click the learn more about you benefits hyperlink.
The eligibility requirements and type of burial benefits offered to members of the reserves and national guard vary. For specific information concerning what burial benefits you might be eligible for, please visit www.benefits.va.gov/guardreserve, select the tab relevant to you (Active Guard, Active Reserve, Traditional, Technician), and click the learn more about you benefits hyperlink.
For extensive information on benefits offered by the VA to homeless Veterans, please visit www.va.gov/homeless.
The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans assists homeless Veterans, at-risk Veterans, their families, and other interested parties with linkages to appropriate VA and community-based resources. The call center provides trained VA staff members 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assess a caller's needs and connect them to appropriate resources. The call center can be accessed by dialing 1-877-424-3838.
The Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) provides permanent housing and ongoing case management for eligible homeless Veterans who would not be able to live independently otherwise. For extensive information on the HUD-VASH Program, please visit www.va.gov/homeless/housing.asp.
Through the Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program, VA aims to improve very low-income Veterans families' housing stability by providing supportive services in, or transitioning to, permanent housing. You can explore more eligibility requirements, resources, events, etc. from www.va.gov/homeless/SSVF.
VA benefits may be affected if a beneficiary is convicted of a felony and imprisoned. To see the current information concerning changes in benefits for incarcerated Veterans, please view the Benefits Assistance Services for Incarcerated Veterans Factsheet located at www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/factsheets/misc/incarcerated.pdf. You may also see extensive information regarding incarcerated Veteran benefits and programs at www.benefits.va.gov/persona/Veteran-incarcerated.asp.
The aim of the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program is to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among Veterans by ensuring that eligible, justice-involved Veterans have timely access to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services, as clinically indicated. VJO specialists provide direct outreach, assessment and case management for justice involved Veterans in local courts and jails and liaison with local justice system partners.
For more information concerning the VJO Program, please visit www.va.gov/homeless/vjo.asp.
Page last updated: October 23, 2023