How Does My Military Discharge Affect My Eligibility?

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One of the major determining factors of a veteran or military service member’s VA loan eligibility is the nature of military discharge he/she is given. Aside from the required number of days or years in service, the nature of the discharge will tell if the person is eligible or not.

Generally, the Veteran Affairs have set requirements for a veteran or an active duty military to be eligible:

  • During Peacetime – must have served not less than 181 days
  • During Wartime – must have served not less than 90 days
  • For National Guards or Reserves – Must have completed 6 years of service

There can be few exemptions to this general guideline, especially when it involves medical issues. These certain cases, however, need to undergo review and investigation by the Veteran Affairs.

What is a Military Discharge?

This is defined as a military service member being dismissed from their obligations to serve the military. There are different kinds of discharges that can be given to a military member. Some may automatically make them eligible for all the military benefits, including the VA loan. Other discharges will require an adjudication review to establish eligibility. One will forfeit the member to the VA loan benefit.

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Automatically Acceptable Discharges

There are two types that merit a member eligible for a VA Home Loan. There are the Honorable Discharge and the General Discharge.

Honorable Discharge

This means that the service member has received good to excellent rating during their service. He/she has performed exceedingly beyond the set standards. This type of discharge is a form of administrative discharge.

General Discharge

A service member is given a general discharge if he/she has shown satisfactory performance for his/her service period but failed to meet all standards of conduct. This discharge is considered a general discharge under honorable conditions. The discharging officer will have to explain in writing why the member merits such discharge, and the service member will have to sign some documents stating that he/she has understood the reason(s) provided.

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Discharges Requiring Review

Service members given an Other Than Honorable Discharge and Bad Conduct Discharge will have to undergo adjudication review. This process can take up to several months to determine their eligibility.

Other than Honorable Discharge and Bad Conduct Discharge

An Other than Honorable Discharge is considered an administrative discharge of a severe type. The veterans may no longer be able to re-enlist themselves in the future to serve the military. The Bad Conduct Discharge is given to enlisted members who are given by a court-martial due to punishment for bad conduct. It is often given after a military imprisonment.

Discharge Meriting Automatic Forfeiture

A Dishonorable Discharge will render a veteran ineligible for a VA Loan. This also means that all military and veteran benefits are forfeited. This discharge considers the member’s actions as reprehensible.

This document is important in availing the VA home loan benefit. A veteran may ask a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty as a proof of service. This will be needed to that the veteran will be issued a Certificate of Eligibility.

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