The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee today passed the Veteran Home Loan Disaster Recovery Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Brian Mast (R-FL) that would help veterans rebuild and recover in the wake of a natural disaster.
Veterans and servicemembers are currently eligible for VA home loans that are backed by the federal government and subject to lower interest rates than traditional mortgages. The Veteran Home Loan Disaster Recovery Act would reduce loan fees for veterans who have been affected by presidentially-declared natural disasters by enabling them to qualify for a second home loan using the initial VA funding fee, instead of the higher subsequent-use fee.
“As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am proud to use my seat at the table to ensure that Lowcountry veterans know our country is there for them, especially after a natural disaster,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. “This bipartisan legislation helps our veterans and servicemembers rebuild and recover after disaster strikes by reducing unnecessarily high loan fees. With hurricane season well under way, I encourage House leadership to hold a vote on this legislation as soon as possible. South Carolina veterans and servicemembers do not deserve to be penalized for living in the path of hurricanes.”
“Rep. Cunningham’s bill is a key solution to ensure that we help veterans when natural disasters strike and they lose their homes—and I’m proud to see his bill pass through the Committee today,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “Especially in the midst of hurricane season, it’s critical that we reduce home loan fees and support these veterans if they lose everything to a natural disaster.”
“It is absurd that veterans are forced to pay more for a second VA home loan if their first home was destroyed by a natural disaster,” said Rep. Brian Mast. “The least we can do for veterans trying to put their lives back together after one of these storms is to make sure they have access to the benefits they earned in service to our nation. That’s what this bill is all about.”
Current VA Funding Fee Structure:
The legislation has earned the support of three high-profile veteran service organizations: the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
The Veteran Home Loan Disaster Recovery Act passed as an amendment to bipartisan legislation introduced earlier this month by Reps. Bost (R-IL) and Cunningham, which would expand eligibility to the VA home loan program to National Guard and Army Reserve members that have been activated in response to COVID-19. Under current law, members of the National Guard and Army Reserves can only access the program if they have had served over 90 consecutive days on active duty or six years of total service.
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