The VA Certificate of Eligibility: What You Need to Know
As MilitaryBenefits.Info explains, the VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is a document issued by the VA that confirms a person’s eligibility to participate in the VA loan program. It contains all sorts of coded information about a specific borrower, including things like how much entitlement they have available and whether they’re exempt from paying VA’s funding fee. Everyone who uses a VA loan needs a COE, so knowing how to get your COE and being aware of the evidence that you might need will make the process easier. It also helps to learn a bit about reading your COE.
How to Get Your COE
According to Forbes, the easiest way to get your COE is to visit a VA-approved lender. With access to a special computer system, they can often get a COE issued in minutes with just a Social Security number and the borrower’s full name. However, there are three ways to secure a COE:
- Have a VA-approved lender get your COE.
- Request a COE through the VA’s eBenefits website.
- Request a COE through the mail using a Request for Certificate of Eligibility Form.
Additional Documents Needed for Your COE
In many cases, your lender can access a COE almost instantly. However, there are times when records are missing from the system and additional documentation is required to verify a borrower’s request. Naturally, anyone requesting a COE through other methods will need to submit the required documentation in order to achieve their goal. Documentation requirements vary depending on your service. The VA explains what’s needed:
- Veteran. A copy of your discharge papers, or DD214, is needed.
- Service member. Active-duty service members will need a statement signed by their commander, adjutant, or personnel officer. It must include their full name, Social Security number, date of birth, the date they entered duty, duration of any lost time, and the name of the command providing the information.
- Current or former activated National Guard or Reserve member. A copy of your discharge papers, or DD214, is needed.
- Current National Guard or Reserve member who has never been activated. These service members need a statement signed by their commander, adjutant, or personnel officer. It must include their full name, Social Security number, date of birth, the date they entered duty, duration of any lost time, and the name of the command providing the information.
- Discharged National Guard member who was never activated. A copy of your Report of Separation and Record of Service, or NGB Form 22, for each period of National Guard service and your Retirement Points Statement, NGB Form 23, and proof of the character of service will be required.
- Discharged Reserve member who was never activated. Be prepared to provide a copy of your latest annual retirement points and proof of honorable service.
- Surviving spouse. The veteran’s DD214 will be needed.
Reading Your COE
Military.com cautions against trying to translate the information on the COE without help. The document uses various alphanumeric codes, and even seemingly simple numbers can be misleading. It’s not uncommon for people to see a $0 basic entitlement and think that they have no entitlement remaining. They’re often wrong. If you choose to get your COE independently, be sure to take it to a professional for help interpreting it because entitlement calculations can be complicated and confusing. In fact, it’s best to work with a lender who is experienced with the VA loan program. With a full understanding of the ins and outs of the program, they know how to help you get the most out of the housing benefits that you’ve earned.
If you’re interested in learning more about VA loans or want help securing your COE, reach out to PrimeLending: Manhattan, KS. We take pride in delivering first-class service to those who have served our country. How can we help you reach your housing goals? Contact us today to learn more.