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When you are having trouble making your VA mortgage payments, there are some proactive steps you can take to prevent a delinquency from occurring. Make sure to take full advantage of the programs offered by the VA before letting your loan become delinquent. These programs were specifically designed to allow military members to concentrate on their active duty service and not worry about the burden of their debt payments.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
In 2003, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act was replaced by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA. The SCRA was created to provide help for members of the military with the debts they took out before active duty began. The SCRA also covers members of the National Guard or Reserves who are on active duty. SCRA benefits will no longer apply 30 to 90 days after a servicemember is discharged from active duty.
If active duty service begins to cause a military member trouble managing his or her finances, the SCRA can be used to reduce high interest rates to 6 percent for up to one year. The rate above 6 percent will be forgiven, not deferred.
The SCRA can also hold off an eviction for as long as nine months, terminate an apartment or vehicle lease with 30 days' notice or help prevent many other types of financial obligations from damaging the military member’s credit rating.
One drawback to the SCRA is that it cannot be used to directly help with a VA mortgage loan, since it was designed for debts obtained prior to active duty. However, the SCRA can help with obligations such as payments on a credit card that carries a high rate of interest, which will save money that can then be used toward the VA mortgage loan.
In order to apply the SCRA benefits toward your credit obligations, you must contact each of your creditors separately and request that the SCRA benefits be applied. You will also have to provide each creditor with proof of your active duty service, which can be a copy of your mobilization orders. Contact your military legal assistance department if you have any problems.
If your active duty service causes you to be unable to attend legal meetings scheduled due to divorce proceedings or any legal matter, you can request the meetings be deferred for 90 days or longer. You will need to send the court a written request and a signed statement from your unit commander listing the reasons why you are unable to attend any court appointments until a specific date.
Direct Assistance from the VA
When you have a VA guaranteed mortgage loan, direct assistance is available from supplemental servicing by the VA. There are eight VA loan centers available to help you prevent a foreclosure from occurring on the property you purchased using a VA guaranteed loan.
The VA loan center will contact your VA loan lender and discuss all available options for preventing your loan from going into foreclosure. You can call (877) 827-3702 toll-free to find the nearest regional VA loan center that offers supplemental servicing assistance.
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