As a veteran, you’ll need your discharge papers for many things, including getting a VA loan. Your DD214 papers are proof of your service and the type of discharge you had. It can be the first step you take as you try to get a VA loan.
Obtaining the DD214 Papers
You should receive your discharge papers from your branch of service upon discharge. However, if you lose them, you can obtain an additional copy. Here’s how:
You can request a copy either by mail or online. If you opt to order it by mail, you will need to complete this application. If you wish to apply online, you can visit this website and fill out your information.
If you were in the service within the last 10 years, your branch may have a copy of your discharge papers still. However, it has been longer than 10 years, you may have to go through the National Archives to get your copy as discussed above.
Who Gets a DD214?
Only certain members of the military receive the DD214. These include veterans of the:
- Air Force
- Marine Corps
- Coast Guard
If you were in the Reserves or National Guard, you can use your proof of annual retirement points to prove your eligibility for a VA loan.
What Does the DD214 Do For a VA Loan?
A large part of getting a VA loan is securing the Certificate of Eligibility. Without this, a lender does not know you are eligible for the program.
In order to secure the COE, Certificate of Eligibility Form, you must complete VA Form 26-1880. Along with this form, you must send your discharge papers. If you are already working with a lender, however, you can just supply your DD214 and they can obtain the COE for you.
As you can see, the DD214 is a very important document. It helps the VA and your lender know your service history and whether or not you are eligible for a VA loan.
What is a VA Loan?
If you are not familiar with the VA loan, you’ll want to know it as it offers veterans many benefits. Once you have your COE, you are eligible for the VA loan. In other words, you can receive 100% financing for a VA approved home. Basically, this means that you buy a home that meets the Minimum Property Requirements the VA set. As long as the home is safe, sanitary, and large enough to meet the needs of your family, it will likely qualify for VA financing.
Keep in mind, though, being eligible and qualifying for the loan are not the same thing. You must prove that you can afford the loan, much like you would have to do for any other loan type.
This means proving that you have the income, assets, credit history, and employment that will make affording the loan simple. The VA does not have a specific credit score or debt ratio you must meet. However, you must have enough disposable income left each month after paying your bills. The VA has a specific amount based on where you live and the size of your family.
Other than that, you just need to prove you have stable employment and will live in the home as your primary residence.
The whole process starts with your discharge papers, though. You need an honorable discharge and enough time served in order to qualify. Once you have proof of your discharge, you can obtain your COE and start the VA loan process.