A woman in military garb sitting on the front steps of her home

Jessica Radanavong - Unsplash

Bill Removes Penalty for Vets With Homes Damaged by Natural Disasters

December 18, 2020

Congress approved legislation to help veterans who’ve lost their homes in a natural disaster, such as wildfires and hurricanes, to not face penalties when they go to rebuild.

Currently, vets whose homes have been destroyed by a natural disaster are subject to a repeat purchase fee when they use a VA home loan to buy a replacement home. The new bill would remove that penalty.

President Trump is expected to sign the bill to become law.

The bill proposes that any veteran who loses their home to a natural disaster become eligible for the same “initial loan” rate—or the same lower rate they would qualify for as a first-time participant in the program—and to not be subject to the higher repeat purchase fees. The National Association of REALTORS® sent a letter to Congress in October in support of the bill. In that letter, NAR wrote, “This bill ensures that the men and women who have dedicated themselves to protecting our nation aren’t penalized when disaster strikes their family and their home.” 

The bill also expands access to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs' home loan program to full-time National Guard and Reserve members deployed domestically. These military members are often called up to serve during natural disasters, and today have been deployed to help with COVID-related emergencies. Previously, many of these National Guard and Reserve members were ineligible for VA home loans unless they served overseas.

The bill is known as the “Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020.”

VA loans are surging in popularity this year. VA loan volume has nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020. Read more: VA Loans Are Having a Record Year

Veterans Hit By Disaster Get Relief,” National Association of REALTORS®’ Washington Report (Dec. 17, 2020)