Kiggans, Ryan Introduce Bill to Expand VA Benefits for Guardsmen, Reservists

WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) announced that she and Army veteran Congressman Pat Ryan (NY-19) have introduced the Expanding Home Loans for Guard and Reservists Act. This legislation will expand eligibility for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans benefits to servicemembers in the National Guard and Reserves to be on par with that of other servicemembers. 

“The men and women who serve in our National Guard and military reserves stand ready to deploy at a moment’s notice in defense of our freedoms,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “It’s unacceptable that – up until now – they have been denied full VA housing benefits. At a time when inflation and interest rates have greatly increased the difficulty of buying a home, our veterans should be able to access the full range of benefits that our country owes them for their service and sacrifice. I’m proud to join Congressman Ryan to make the home buying process easier for former servicemembers across the country!”

“Our brave service members make huge sacrifices, both at home and abroad, to protect our country,” said Congressman Pat Ryan. “Now more than ever, we’re calling on our National Guard and Reservists to keep our communities safe – they shouldn’t face disproportionate barriers to own a home in the very country and communities they are putting it all on the line to protect. I’m proud that this will right the injustice that our Guard and Reservists currently face in accessing the life transforming VA home loans that they earned.”

BACKGROUND

The Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 [signed into law Jan 5, 2020, PL 116-315] expanded the VA Home Loan eligibility to National Guard service members who perform “full-time National Guard duty” for at least 90 days, of which 30 are consecutive.

Since that law was enacted, Guard and Reservists have identified a gap that makes it more difficult for certain National Guard service members conducting Active Duty training to receive the full credit for their time served and access the VA home loan benefit they are rightfully due. As a result of this current gap, service members training or entering the National Guard into longer training pipelines like Special Forces, Aviation, or linguistics face inequitable access to VA home loans. This bill provides a technical fix to the present injustice so that each of our men and women in uniform can earn the benefits they have earned through their full-time National Guard duty and service to our country.

The full text of the Expanding Home Loans for Guard and Reservists Act can be found here.

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