Skip to Content

VA Loans for Surviving Spouses

Surviving spouses of Veterans and service members can be eligible for a VA loan of their own. Here, we dive into the process and requirements for surviving spouses to obtain a VA loan. We’ll take a closer look at eligibility for surviving spouses, what it takes to get a Certificate of Eligibility, closing cost benefits and more.

Surviving spouse looking out the window.
Surviving spouse looking out the window.

The VA home loan is a benefit earned through service and sacrifice. It isn't something that Veterans can transfer to their children or share with a civilian friend. But for Veterans and service members who've paid the ultimate price, their surviving spouse may be able to use this long-cherished mortgage guaranty program.

Can a Surviving Spouse Get a VA Loan?

Surviving spouses may be eligible for a VA loan, typically if they haven’t remarried and their spouse died in the line of duty or due to a service-connected disability.

Other cases where surviving spouses may have VA loan eligibility include:

  • The spouse of a service member listed as MIA or a POW for more than 90 days
  • The spouse of a Veteran receiving compensation at the time of death for a service-connected disability rated totally disabling
  • The spouse of a Veteran continuously rated totally disabled for at least 10 years immediately preceding death
  • The spouse of a Veteran continuously rated totally disabled for at least five years from the date of discharge or release from active duty
  • The spouse of a Veteran who was a former POW who died after Sept. 30, 1999, and was continuously rated totally disabled for at least one year immediately preceding death

Spouses who remarry after their significant other's death may still be eligible for a loan, provided they did so on or after turning 57 and on or after Dec. 16, 2003.

Additionally, spouses who with their Veteran purchased a home with a VA loan are eligible to refinance using the VA streamline program.

Starting the VA Loan Process as a Surviving Spouse

As a surviving spouse, a typical first step is validating your eligibility by obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The COE confirms your eligibility and provides an entitlement code explaining your eligibility. Surviving spouses typically fall under Entitlement Code 06 or Entitlement Code 07 on the COE.

Keep in mind, you don't need a COE in hand to contact a lender. In many cases, your lender can obtain the COE on your behalf.

If you plan to get a COE on your own, you'll need to fill out VA Form 26-1817, which is the Request for Determination of Loan Guarantee Eligibility - Unmarried Surviving Spouses.

To complete this form, you'll need the following information about the deceased Veteran:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Veteran's service number
  • Date of death
  • Periods of service
  • Branch of service

After completing the form, you'll need to send it to your state's regional VA office.

Otherwise, the VA loan process looks the same for surviving spouses as it does for other VA homebuyers, from preapproval to underwriting and closing.

VA Mortgage Benefits for Surviving Spouses

Surviving spouses who qualify have access to the same benefits that have helped millions of Veterans secure home financing since 1944. That includes being able to purchase with no money down and no mortgage insurance. VA loans also feature less stringent credit and income requirements, and they've been the safest mortgage on the market in terms of foreclosures for nearly the last decade.

In addition, surviving spouses are exempt from paying the VA Funding Fee. This mandatory fee goes directly to the loan program to cover losses and keep it going for future generations.