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Housing and Mortgages for Veterans

Introduction

The VA Loan program has allowed more than 18 million veterans to become homeowners since it was created in 1944. It was designed to provide home financing for eligible active duty and veteran personnel and their spouses.

Its such an incredible program," says Chris Birk, the director of communications for VA Mortgage Center.com. It's not just our studies that show this, but the single greatest benefit of the program is that you can purchase a house with no money down and essentially with no out-of-pocket costs.

The loans, which are made by private lenders and guaranteed by the Veterans Administration, provide an easy way for military borrowers to get financing of up to $417,000 of their total loan. While some fees and closing costs do apply, the borrower can get a competitive loan without any money down and avoid paying the private mortgage insurance that other loans require if the borrower is putting down less than 20%.

The average military borrower does not have a ton of liquidity, says Birk. A lot of these people are not flush with cash. Theyve been serving our country abroad, theyre relatively young, so theyre not coming to the table with huge cash reserves or the ability to put 20% down.

Whats surprising is that very few of our nations 24 million veterans have taken advantage of the benefits of the VA Loan program. 20% of veterans dont even know that the program exists.

This guide is meant to give past and present military personnel an overview of their options within the VA Loan program. Hopefully it will help to close the gap so that more qualified people can take advantage of their hard earned benefits and move into a homewithout having to save up for a down payment.

Its an incredibly important program, says Birk, and its only becoming more important as the whole lending landscape of the country changes given the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis.

Though we have done our best to make this guide as comprehensive as possible, you should do your own research and talk to a trusted financial advisor or real estate professional who understands your specific situation. While there are few downsides to a VA Loan, a mortgage is one of the biggest financial commitments you will make in your life. A trusted advisor can help you to make the best decision for you and your family before making any binding commitments.

Also, while this guide covers many aspects of the VA Loan process, it does not cover every aspect of the general mortgage process. Save yourself some cash and some headaches by educating yourself on the general mortgage process as well.

(pulled from website, 6/22/2011)



Line Separator | Veterans Services

DOL Launches Veterans Hiring Toolkit for Employers

October 28, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the availability of a new online toolkit to guide employers through the process for hiring veterans.

According to a press release, the free toolkit is designed to assist and educate employers who have made the proactive decision to include veterans and wounded warriors in their recruitment and hiring initiatives.

"Many employers have told us that they are interested in developing or enhancing a veterans hiring initiative for their company, but that they don't know where to begin," said Ray Jefferson, assistant secretary for the department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service, in making the announcement. "This toolkit was created with these employers in mind. It's designed to simplify the process and put valuable, vetted resources at the employer's fingertips."

Developed as part of the department's "America's Heroes at Work" initiative, the Veterans Hiring Toolkit features a six-step process pinpointing helpful tools for a business to design a veterans hiring initiative. These steps include:

creating an educated and welcoming environment for veteran
employees;

actively recruiting veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses;

learning how to accommodate qualified veterans and wounded warriors
in the workplace; and

promoting an inclusive workplace to help retain veteran employees.

According to the DoL, the toolkit also helps employers navigate the plethora of resources for hiring veterans available to them.

The final section of the toolkit features a quick reference list of reputable online resources to help users find and welcome talented and skilled veterans into their companies. Examples include links to veterans employment service organizations, places to receive consultations on workplace accommodations and answers to common employer questions about hiring veterans and wounded warriors.

According to the DoL, whether users are looking to create a veterans hiring program from scratch or retool existing efforts, the toolkit can help them design and implement a customized initiative.

To access the toolkit, visit http://www.AmericasHeroesAtWork.gov/forEmployers/HiringToolkit.

Veterans Services

Veterans Preference
"This program is subject to the provisions of the Jobs for Veterans Act, Public Law 107-288, and 20 CFR Part 1010 (Final Rule), which provides priority of service to veterans and spouses of certain veterans for the receipt of employment, training, and placement services in any job training program directly funded, in whole or in part, by the Department of Labor. Please note that, to obtain service, a veteran must meet the programs eligibility requirements."

Federal law prescribes preferential treatment for veterans seeking employment. The Aiken ESC One-Stop Workforce Center has a Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER) whose primary responsibility is to ensure that veterans receive, on a preferential basis, the full employment services prescribed by law. Two Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist (DVOPs) are also assigned to Aiken ESC One-Stop Workforce Center where intensive employment and training services are needed for disabled veterans and other veterans in need of special services.
Unemployment Compensation
Laws governing unemployment compensation are complex and varied, therefore, any questions pertaining to this matter should be submitted to the Claims Staff of the Aiken ESC One-Stop Workforce Center where competent information may be obtained.
Federal Employment
A Veteran has 120 days following date of discharge to open any Federal announcement for any position open for at least one day while on active duty. Additional test points will be added to passing Merit Test Scores to Veterans with Purple Heart or a service connected disability of 0% or more in consideration of Federal employment. If the veteran is rated 30% or more disability, in addition to the points being added to their score, they are placed at the top of the register for specific occupations being considered.
Veterans Readjustment Appointment
A veteran holding a campaign ribbon from the Vietnam or Operation Desert Storm conflict, a veteran that has served 180 days or more of active duty after May 7, 1975, or a veteran with a service connected disability rated 0% or above may be eligible for a Veterans Readjustment Appointment with a Federal agency. Your Local Veterans Employment Representative in the Aiken ESC One-Stop Workforce Center will have information concerning time limits and positions levels available.
State Employment
Wartime veterans with a service connected disability rated 0% or above may open examinations for state employment. After passing the test, ten points will be awarded to the disabled veteran's score. Again, those with 30% or more service connected disability, and in receipt of compensation, are placed to the top of the register. The veteran must provide a letter from the Veterans Administration, dated within the last six months, certifying the disability. Apply at : Division of Human Resource Management, P.O.Box 50367, Columbia, SC 29250.
Private Sector Jobs
The Aiken ESC One-Stop Workforce Center is very familiar with local job market possibilities, and it's staff are trained in placement interviewing and can give helpful suggestions on how to improve your chances of being hired by an employer.
Disability Benefits
If, while on active military service, veteran hospitalized, treated for a physical or mental condition, or received the Purple Heart, should contact the VA to determine qualification for any disability benefits.
100% Service Connected Disability
Veterans rated 100% service connected disabilities recognized by the VA are entitled to the following benefits: 1. Educational benefits for dependent children. 2. Education or training for veteran's spouse. 3. Medical services for any disability for veterans, their spouse, and any dependent children. 4. Commissary cards for veterans and their spouse for the privilege of making purchases at military installations.
Social Security Administration
Veterans, if unable to accept full-time employment because of a disability, should file an application with the Social Security Administration for disability benefits.
Veterans Administration
For VA benefits information, phone the VA Regional Office at 1-800-827-1000.
Discharge and DD Form-214
Each veteran should record the DD Form-214 at the County Courthouse. You may obtain free copies of your DD-214 plus any other documents that may be necessary for training or employment, such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, driver's license, etc.
Purple Heart Veterans
Veterans who have received the Purple Heart may open any Federal announcement at any time. This is also true if the veteran is rated by the VA or any branch of the armed forces with a service connected disability of 0% or more.
U.S. Postal Service
All veterans whose last day of discharge or release from the armed forces occurred less than 120 days ago, Purple Heart Veterans and service connected disability veterans are eligible to open announcements with the U.S. Postal Service. They should contact the local postmaster for the address and phone number of the Management Sectional Center which processes employment applications in their area.
General Information for Veterans Just Released from Active Duty
Veterans have:
90 Days - To apply to former employer for reemployment
120 Days - To convert insurance protection to Veteran's Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policy without medical examination.
2 Years - From date of latest VA decision granting service connection to obtain G.I. life insurance because of service connected disability.
90 Days - To file for one-time VA dental treatment. No time limit for trauma or combat caused conditions or for former prisoners of war.
270 Days - To receive unemployment compensation. However, a delay in filing your claim following discharge can reduce the amount of benefits.
10 Years - To complete G.I. Bill education. Must be completed within 10 years.
Veterans with basic eligibility:
12 Years - To complete Vocational rehabilitation except in certain cases of serious disability or delay in establishing eligibility.
No limit - To obtain G.I. Loan for a home, mobile home, business or other real estate.
No limit - To file compensation claim for injury or disease.
No limit - To file pension claim, non-service connected.
No limit - To file for Federal, State or Municipal Civil Service Veterans Preference (5 or 10 test points).
No limit - To obtain VA hospital care.
No limit - To obtain special assistance in finding employment or job training program.
No limit - To convert Term Insurance.
15 Years - To apply for review of character type of discharge.
3 Years - To apply for correction of military records to correct an error or injustice.

National Resource Directory

National Resource Directory (NRD) is for Wounded Warriors, transitioning Service Members, Veterans and those who support them. This site provides quick and easy access to thousands of resources to help in their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. Visit the site for additional resources and information.


Phone: (803) 649-7981
Fax: (803) 649-2248

Mailing address:
PO Box 850
Aiken, SC 29802-0850

Physical address:
2748 Wagener Rd.
Aiken, SC 29801
Email: LSWIAinfo@lscog.org