In these unstable economic times, it is worth reviewing some of the protections afforded to Veterans and Servicemembers with monthly housing payments.

For Veterans and Servicemembers with home loans who are experiencing difficulties paying their mortgage, we cannot stress enough the importance of contacting your loan servicer, the company that collects your monthly mortgage payments, as soon as possible. Your loan servicer can help you explore different options to avoid foreclosure. Contrary to popular opinion, servicers really do not want to foreclose because foreclosure costs a lot of money. Be sure to have your most recent financial information handy when contacting your servicer so that appropriate home retention options can be pursued.

Although the servicer has the primary responsibility of servicing a loan to resolve default, VA stands ready to assist should the servicer be unable to help. For Veterans and Servicemembers with VA home loans, VA is authorized to provide direct and more in-depth assistance to help arrange a suitable home retention option. These may include foreclosure alternatives such as a loan modification or repayment plan. Besides the no-downpayment feature of VA home loans, this assistance is one of the primary benefits of the program. Click here for informational videos on how the different foreclosure avoidance options work.

Even if you are a Veteran or Servicemember with a conventional or Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage, VA can still provide financial counseling and guidance on how to approach your loan servicer to explore home retention options.

Veterans/Servicemembers with either loan type can speak to a VA loan technician by calling toll-free at 1-877-827-3702. You can also learn about assistance options by reviewing our Veteran Borrowers in Delinquency Quick Reference Sheet.

Another protection of which you might not be aware is designed specifically for Servicemembers called to active duty. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), active duty Servicemembers can suspend or postpone certain financial obligations so they can devote their full attention to their military duties. While a range of obligations, from car payments to student loans, may be covered under SCRA, I’d like to specifically address housing payments.

If your military service significantly affects your ability to meet your monthly payments on a mortgage you acquired before entering active duty, your interest rate may be capped at 6 percent during the active duty period. Some mortgage servicers are even capping the rates on SCRA-eligible loans at rates as low as 4 percent. If you believe you may qualify for SCRA protection, contact your mortgage servicer and be prepared to provide a copy of your orders. VA is always available to provide guidance as well; once again, our number is 1-877-827-3702.

If you are a Servicemember called to active duty and have a residential lease, you also have rights and protections under SCRA. For example, active duty Servicemembers and their families cannot be evicted from a house they own or rent. If certain conditions are met, you may be able to terminate leases without penalty as well.  For full details on this and other SCRA protections, please visit

Part of the pride in working for the VA Home Loan program is being able to help Veterans and Servicemembers use their VA benefits to purchase homes. However, we put just as much effort into helping Veterans retain those homes. One of the performance statistics we track in our program is our foreclosure rate compared to other loan types. The Mortgage Bankers Association has reported VA loans to have the lowest foreclosure rate among all loan types (prime, subprime, FHA, VA) for the last 12 quarters.

This is a solid achievement, but we know this is not solely due to the home retention assistance that VA provides. We understand VA’s low foreclosure rate also speaks to the sense of responsibility and duty that members of our military possess. Based on these characteristics and the protections discussed here, we hope to keep even more Veterans and Servicemembers in their homes despite the economic challenges that may lie ahead.

Mike Frueh is the Acting Director of the VA Home Loan program. This program is responsible for helping Veterans obtain mortgages to purchase homes, retain homes when financial difficulties are encountered, and adapt homes to accommodate certain service-connected disabilities. Mike has 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry.

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Published on Sep. 27, 2011

Estimated reading time is 3.7 min.

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  1. william hageman February 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    i have a va loan that has been mishanded by my lender chase and pnc
    i am disabled and need to lower my interest rate and monthly payments and i am being told i cannot
    third party non bias agencies have been involved and have attempted to assist to no avail – consumer and state/federal agencies

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am requesting help regarding the mishandling of my home loans and the conditions agreed to by my wife and I. The loan reinstatement conditions were managed by The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency / Homeowner Emergency Assistance Program (PHFA/HEMAP) in September 2005, Signed November 2005.

    I have made every attempt to contact PNC Bank, Chase Home Finance, and PHFA/HEMAP to ensure my loans are properly being managed to no avail. Regarding PNC Bank the loan was never reinstated, no clear information or documentation regarding insurance was ever provided. Regarding Chase Home Finance, the interest rate change was not applied, the monthly payment change was not applied, and the disability insurance was never applied. All as agreed in the contracts signed.

    Once I was lied to on recorded telephone calls and received fraudulent mail I suspended all payments except to PHFA/HEMAP.

    I have open two OCC (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) investigations 985005 and 985006 respectfully. I also demanded a suspicious activity report be opened on both loans.

    Issues regarding loans:

    1. Chase Home Finance
    a. Interest rate reduction:
    i. From 8.50% lowered to 8.15%
    ii. Monthly payments not to exceed $1,103.64
    iii. Insurance reapplication
    1. Forced place hazard
    2. Disability and mortgage
    3. Complete reinstatement of loan

    2. PNC Bank
    a. Correction of loan conditions
    i. Loan was incorrectly listed as a Line Of Credit – should be a Home Equity Loan
    ii. Interest rate raised to 6.25 from 4.25
    iii. Ensure disability and life insurance is applied to loan
    iv. Complete reinstatement of loan

  2. carol December 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    A family member is living in my house. He has limited VA benefits from serving during the Vietnam era (not disabled). I need to move and he can’t come with me. Where can he go? He only has his social security check to live on and no one could live on $1,000 a month and cover housing, utilities, food, medication, etc. Any suggestions?

  3. Drene October 7, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I am trying to stay positive… I filed my claim and was told that since it was a BDD/Quick start claim, by local VA reps that came to base that our claims would be completed within 60 days upon discharge… I know its not about me, but many who have served. However I am having difficulty keeping up with mortgage, lights, medical bills that get bigger every month, and keeping food on table…etc (started looking for work prior to being medically discharged). My loan servicer is of no real assistance. I have always tried to stay on top of my responsibilities. dont think i can take any more of this. We are facing foreclosure, and told if I walked away, I would then owe the VA/IRS. My local VA office rep asked why didnt a foresee the current crisis, prior to buying this home… Local state agencies here Duval County,Florida ARE NOT HELPFUL to VETS. I have been turned down and forwarded to VA, because I am a “VET”… Dont want my family to be homeless.

  4. David Stover October 4, 2011 at 11:46 am

    For a appointment to the outreach clinic,it takes 6 months.For a military retiree, just walk in the door at any military post! Why di I say this? We are hated by the US Government,the Veterans admistration, and all military retirees! Why do I say this? Because we are alloted the money the retirees could get for their pockets, then they could go to the vetrans Admistration to get free medical care,and we would be out on the street with nothing at all. Why do you think they are building all the FEMA camps for? to put disabled veterans in to work to death and have retirees run the camp. what a lovely way to get rid of a problem of disabled veterans taking all their money they could be spending on drugs/hookers or big mulit million dollar mansions using the money that should go to disabled veterans. Listen up troops!, the government dosen’t care about us,don’t want to help us, they want to get ride of us the way the nazi did with 6 million jews in WWII ! Start stock piling guns and Ammo!!!!! it’s for your only survival and your families. God go with you!

  5. David Stover October 4, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I am a 50% disabled veteran after 10 years of service in the us Army. Do you think OUR VA cares,I don,t think so! They only give you lip service! I couldn’t get a VA loan,I had to use the NASTY CIVILIAN loan company! OUR government dose’nt care for us or honor us for our service, we are just a number in the system, a pebble they can step on,a life they can waste,someone they could send into harms way to kill the enemy,were just a bunch of delivery boys and girls who deal out death for them,a hired gun to kill for them. Now we are a liability to their pocket books,we receive the money they want to spend on their drunken drug/orgy infested party’s!They want us to just dissapear like dust in the wind. They will do anything to get ride of us. I can’t even get the VFW to help me get an ID card to post, they hate disabled veterans most of all. The Veterans of Foreign wars are in bed with the VA/US Government. We are hated most of all. we are a problem that they must deal with and I am afraid they will deal with us as the Nazi dealt with the Jews!

    • Amanda Bali October 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      if ur credit sucks ur not gonna get a VA loan. it is rather difficult to get. outpatient care for a disabled vet w a 50% rating such as you— just walk in. or call. they can get u into urgent care the same day. i do it all the time… no problems. the longest wait I have dealth with is wiating for scripts. even travel pays out quicker. and if u live out of the county ur va med facility is, at 50%, u get travel pay. work smarter, not harder. when u need an appt promptly and they dont have walk ins; ask if they can call you when someone doesnt show or moves their appts…

  6. shelton walker October 4, 2011 at 9:21 am

    i havein a hard time paying my utilities bills i want to know how to get relief on paying
    the telephone call that they make a night is awful. i need to get this kind of assisstence

  7. Old Snipe October 3, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    One more feedback about this article, one word can describe it: “Propaganda” that’s all this is.

  8. Old Snipe October 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I’ve noticed not a single comment here about the VA and this article is positive. I must agree as these comments have made me feel somewhat better in the sense that I am not alone in the boat of all the veterans that are destitute and in despair. It’s a shame that the so called “richest most powerful nation” in the world cannot take care of its defenders after breaking them and often abusing them. It’s gonna come to the point that less and less people will serve and that will be our great fall, just like great empires from centuries past fell, so we will. I’ve seen countries with a lot less budget treat its veterans like 1st class citizens, here Veterans are treated like crap, I don’t even think they get any kind of class treatment. The words veteran(s) and homeless should never be or exist together, never, otherwise it is close to the phrase absolute shame. I don’t know how our latest presidents are not ashamed of themselves and the trail of dirt they’ve left behind. I’m guessing they collected their millions and left. By the way, I have gone thru most of the problems explained in the comments trail, so no need to elaborate on similarities. I wish someday to hit the powerball with over $100M I would build a facility for homeless vets free of charge and then show our bureaucrats that the protected elected how it must be done.

  9. romeo September 30, 2011 at 11:08 am

    If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please ask for help. This is a great program that connects financial distressed veterans with public/private donors. Trust me this is a legit program. They helped me last Fall when I was hospitalized for 3 months and didn’t have enough paid leave to cover my rent/car payment.

    • Taneil October 3, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Hi Romeo, Can you tell me where this program is located & if they are national? I am in CT, recently homeless due to a disability. I am a single mother of 2 girls, honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. I am registered with my local VA Hosp & have contacted literally everyone & their brother from some guidance & assistance. As hard as it was for me to ask for help in the first place, (being a stubborn Marine) I am feeling completely lost & severly disappointed in our VA program here in CT. Is it everywhere??

      • Wounded Warrior Week October 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm

        Taneil in CT,

        Thanks for your service, Marine! Don’t give up, ma’am; there is hope… always. I’m glad I read your blog post. I hope that we can connect you!

        Please contact me so I can connect you with someone locally in your area, if you’re interested. Please elaborate upon specifically what types of help you need, besides a safe place to live… What ages are your kids? Answer here:

        E-mail privately (spelled out, so automated tools cannot spam this address):

        Wounded Warrior Week [at] gmail [dot] com

        Years from now, you may look back on this chapter of your life as just that… a chapter. That’s what a nurse once told me; that I would have a better life, and that difficult times would pass; then the hard times would be a chapter.

        Continue reaching out, Taneil… there are more battle buddies around than one knows. Semper Fi, Marine. -WWW

      • Amanda Bali October 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm

        If the disability is service related and you have medical evidence to support this, submit a homeless claim for Compensation or pension. You will be a high priority case.

  10. ED September 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    SFC retired pay and %100 va is a good amount to live off for not working. My calculation you taking down 50K if not more. How can you not afford to pay your house. I do with SSDI and 50% va in california.

    • Andrew Heil September 30, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      I agree, but since my claim has not moved since April 2011, and a state is taking 50% of my retirement for child support, after I contacted them to reduce it, well I can apply for food stamps.
      I am a retired SFC with a total of 32 years 22 of which are Active Duty. Must know someone to get what you are getting. Illinois, you are on your own!

  11. reeyaz September 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    i am trying to buy a house in san jose but my credit is very poor but i have a decent job and reliable for rite now if someone wants me to take over a house but help me with the loan i can take a foreclosed home. i am 80% disable and trying to work at the same time because i have two little girls and i want to do something for them.
    contact me at

  12. Alex September 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Its almost 2012 and no COLA for compenstation benefits? Looks like someones to lazy to update the site or they think nobody will notice.

    • Amanda Bali October 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      nope. No COLA increases. There was an accepted proposal to freeze COLA increases for I think another 3 to 6 years…

  13. man and van hire london September 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    U.S. financial stocks plummeted Wednesday after a series of debt downgrades in the banking sector the Fed’s statement from its most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

    The central bank said it would buy about $400 billion in Treasurys with remaining maturities of 6 to 30 years while selling an equal amount of securities with maturities of 3 year or less.

  14. Marion Wichrowski September 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I had 2 lazy incompetent VA employees help me Loose my house, so much for the bs the VA puts out there in helping any of us!

    • Joe September 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      I am in the process of foreclosure and my VA rep said I shouldn’t have bought a home that I didn’t foresee not being able to pay. Her answer to a modification was that the VA dept. has strict rules about modifications, which prevent the bank from reducing the interest rate. I have neighbors with conventional loans that were in my situation and already have gotten help from their bank and the VA won’t let that happen for us. How is it, that the VA department won’t allow the banks to reduce the interest rates therefore reducing the payments for a period of time, and raise them back slowly until the economy recovers?
      I mean I was government employed too but no way was I rude or lazy like her. I am so furious I feel like suing the VA dept for hiring morons to help.

      • Keith Brinson October 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

        I actually lost my home recently (house I grew up in) after purchasing it from a brother in 2007. I am a 40% disabled veteran having served 10 1/2 yrs. in Air Force and all the govt agencies and local agencies I caontacted pretty much said the same thing. We can help you AFTER you lose it all. The financial help needs to be there for us BEFORE foreclosures. Makes no sense to let us be put on the streets to stay there or eventually wind up in a govt. housing project being “taken care of” by the govt., collecting food stamps, etc. Why not subsidize BEFORE a veteran loses it all to PREVENT homelessness?

      • Marilyn November 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm

        We have a VA home mortgage. Due to some recent health problems, my husband was unable to work for a couple of months and then only part-time after that. He had filed for VA disability in September, 2010, so we were hoping to get that in during his illness. We contacted our mortgage company, Citimortgage, and filed a hardship application. They allowed us to pay a small portion of our mortgage for 7 months, and then go for a modification of our loan when that time was over. Praise God the VA disability came through and we modified our loan in October instead of waiting until January, 2012 when we were supposed to modify. VA worked with our mortgage company and lowered our interest rate by 3 points and extended our loan by 5 years. We don’t owe a lot on it, but this has certainly helped us to get our finances in order. Please do not take no from your mortgage company. Keep calling them and apprising them of your situation. When you’re willing to work with them, they’re pretty good about working with you.

      • Scott February 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm

        I called the VA for help with my Mortgage, his best suggestion was to “sell My House” I do not understand why they say “Call us if you are running into trouble with your mortgage”. Thankfully the Education part came through.

    • draper buffkin September 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      i agree with this man except i havn’t lost a house im just almost completly homeless because the VA just keep screwing me out the money the military owes me i was hurt on active duty and they keep saying and I quote “(they’re are no record of me being hurt on active duty so i do not qualify for benifits yet the only reason i have no proof because my file was lost look how dependible the VA or the military really is)”

      • Amanda Bal October 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm

        hint: you don’t need to “prove” you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder anymore… service related issues could still be affecting your mental health and activities of daily living. all u have to prove is that you were deployed/active duty. (as well as have a phsycian diagnose you) which wouldn’t be hard b/c most vets have symptoms of PTSD. Do you have stomach issues? grind ur teeth? clench ur jaw? wake up in the middle of the night sweating? breathe deeper? feel panic? yeah…go get checked out. might be a temporary fix to that “lost records” situation. FYI, It’s not the VA that loses ur records…it’s the units you are attached to on Active Duty that fail to send them back.

    • Taneil October 3, 2011 at 10:45 am

      Im right there with ya! I can feel your pain!

  15. Michael Woodward September 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I am a retired SFC that did over 21years in the U.S. Army. After a difficult time with getting my disability rating from the VA. In which case took several years, I got granted a 90 percent disability rating, but due to unemployability I am getting paid a rate of 100 percent. I am still having difficulty of catching up in life. Anytime now, due to my present home, that I am paying on, and being here for over 25 years, I know that my heat pump/ air conditioner is on it’s last leg. I am asking if there is anyway to get a grant to have a new unit put in. Of course I know that it won’t be done free but, need some type of loan without paying an interest rate, as well as making a low payment plan back to whom ever would be kind enough to give me a loan. My credit score is really poor due to some unpredicted circumstances that has occurred in my life’s journey. Thank you and I look forward to your prompt reply.

    • Joe September 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm

      Check AER loans on a US Army installation-there loans are interest free and sometimes they provide “free” grants.

      • Andrew Heil September 30, 2011 at 4:46 pm

        Yes, AER is there to help, BUT you have to pay it back. With the laziness of the V A Claims employees, I am in the same boat as far as waiting on my disability. Employment opportunities are not here, I filed bankruptcy, after serving 32 years in the Army. This is how the Veterans are taken care of??
        Once you retire/ETS/Medical discharge, there is NO ONE you can count on but yourself and your family. I have received at at two different times foreclosure notices. Lets put more stress on those who have served!! I have asked for assistance with building repairs, we need a new furnace, a room addition since I have children who also cannot find work coming back home. Hell, if I knew retirement was this fun, I should have done this several years ago.

        • Amanda Balistrieri October 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm

          Hey there. I work for the VA processing your claims and we are doing all we can to get your claims processed in a timely fashion. We work 40 hour work weeks with mandatory overtime extending upto 18 extra hours a week. We get over 1,500 claims in PER DAY at just ONE office. We are by no means lazy, I assure you this. We take pride in serving our veterans and families. If you dont believe me, hop on and come help us out here. You are not the only person stuck waiting. We work claims in the sequence of receipt. Based on your financial need; we can expedite a claim. If you ARE homeless we WILL expedite your claim. You might want to inquire by submitting an IRIS inquiry or contacting your local congressional office to have them shoot us a nice letter. That will get your file stacked right on top of the pile. Also, Enroll in Ebenefits. Go to your Home Regional Office or maybe you can do this online now… but you can actually track the status of your claim, see what we are looking at, when we look at it and track the progression. Dont just go pointing fingers here. We bust our bums here to do as much as we can as fast as we can because we know that there are veterans in definite need. I hope this helps.

          As a VET in dyer need back in 2008 I got an AER grant that I did NOT have to pay back. You may want to take another look into that…

          • domingo aguilar December 1, 2011 at 11:25 am

            My name is Domingo Aguilar, and I am also a retired Veteran. I retired last year on the 31st of Aug. I put my claim with the VA about 3 months before retiring, and still waiting. I have been in the Decision Stage for several months. It’s been about 17 months now and still no rating. I can’t understand why the claim would take so long. I received treatment from the Army, Doctors that the Army sent me to see, but most of the treatment was received by the VA in Loma Linda, but yet it still shows as being open with no closed date for the VA records. Why? They are the one’s that know and treated my service connected disabilities. Is the VA questing the treatment that I received from their doctors? I am in desperate need of my Benefits for I am really close to losing my home. I also applied for Social Security Disability after I apply for VA Disability and was granted benefits from them. Why not the VA? I also wrote a letter of Hardship to the VA 3 months ago and it still didn’t make a difference. I know you guys at the VA are very busy, and I thank you so much for the health care that I receive when I go there, but I just wished that I could get my benefits so that I won’t have to find another place to live for my Wife, Daughter, and two Grandchildren to include myself. The mortgage company is already thinking of foreclosing on my property because I haven’t been able to make my mortgage payments. I need your help Desperately. Thank you guys for all that you do.

  16. Edward Scott Inman September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    As I am on my 3rd pay cut since moving back home after active duty and two combat tours,and have been begging the bank and VA for help, I have been late a couple times due to a couple pay cuts, The VA told me to sell my house. this would put me owing the IRS 8,000.00, and still not have enough cash for a deposit on an apt. I have a son with severe diabetes, and 2 other teenagers. I need a job that will pay for my military experience, I need the VA to pay 100% college tuition, and 100% BAH, But I dont see that happeneing either. Thanx, I feel I served for nothing.

    • Amanda Bal October 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      Google: VONAPP and apply for the post 9/11 GI bill. Regardless of if you have collected the MGIB previously or not, you might be eligible to recieve a portion or nice chunk of the post 9/11. The new Post 9/11 GI BIll DOES pay 100% of in state tuition and partial/full BAH depending on length of active duty and/or disability. Do a little research…

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