Once the first cases of coronavirus were discovered in the U.S. and the urgency to contain it began to grow, so did the sea of restrictions for those infected with the virus and closures tied to travel.
To assist with the next national need to supply food, help with COVID-19 testing sites and now vaccination sites, members of the National Guard have been on the front lines of the pandemic to help our nation through it.
“I know personally, quite a few guardsmen who have been on active duty, you know, since April of last year that are still on active duty,” said Trey Budke, a Marine Corps veteran.
Budke explained that the guard’s deployment falls under Title 32, orders which are different than the Title 10 orders typically tied to national defense and deployments to places like Afghanistan.
With the extended time on Title 32 orders, guard members will qualify for the home loan guaranty benefit, something made possible with a law signed by former President Donald Trump before the end of his term.
“What they're changing is -- for the National Guard under Title 32 orders, which is still reporting to the state -- they are making them eligible after 90 days,” Budke said. “And of that 90 days, 30 days has to be continuous.”
The bill that made the change is the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act. While it was signed into law Jan. 5, Veterans Affairs has yet to release a circular on it which signals its enactment, according to Budke.
Until now, National Guard members qualified under these specific criteria, according to the VA website: they must have completed at least six years of honorable service, be mobilized for active duty service for a period of at least 90 days, or have been discharged because of a service-connected disability.
Aside from being a veteran of the Marine Corps, Budke is also a loan officer with USA Mortgage specializing in VA loans. He spoke with WCPO in February 2020 regarding the VA loan limits being lifted.
Since then, the pandemic has rolled out around the globe, and a side effect of the economic crisis is that interest rates have slid lower and lower. Budke said it’s a great time for veterans with a VA loan to think about doing a streamlined refinance on their current mortgage.
”There's no income qualifying. There's no appraisal, so super easy,” he said.
The lower rates are also good for National Guard members now serving our country under Title 32 orders to help during the pandemic.
He said the new change removes one of the greatest challenges for many people when it comes to home ownership: a down payment.
"The biggest hurdle to home ownership is down payment. So yeah, they've actually they've absolutely got a new benefit," he said.
There’s no timeline on when the VA will issue the circular formally announcing the news changes implemented from the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act. You can follow changes and get the latest updates on the VA website.