- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I am a Vietnam veteran who is receiving a non-service-connected disability pension. Am I still eligible for a Veterans Affairs home loan?

Donald B.

Via the Internet

Dear Don:

The short answer is yes.

VA is authorized to guarantee loans to eligible veterans for home purchases. The loans are made by private lenders and the VA guarantee usually means veterans will not have to make a down payment.

To establish eligibility, you should complete VA Form 26-1880, Request for Certificate of Eligibility, and mail it, along with proof of service, such as a DD Form 214, to the Winston-Salem Eligibility Center at P.O. Box 20729, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27120. The form can be downloaded at www.va.gov/vaforms/.

Veterans need sufficient income for the loan desired and a satisfactory credit record. In your case, because you’re receiving non-service-connected pension, the lender will have to submit the loan to a VA office for final underwriting. If the loan is approved, the lender will be notified and the loan can be closed.

For more information on the VA home loan program, visit www.homeloans.va.gov.

Shaft notes

Copies of George Skypeck’s “Assured Victory” prints are still available. Mr. Skypeck has generously donated hundreds of these numbered prints to the Blinded American Veterans Foundation (BAVF). A copy can be obtained for a $100 tax-deductible contribution to BAVF. These donations will go to helping the wounded and their families at Bethesda Naval and Walter Reed Army Medical centers.

The original painting is on loan at Arlington National Cemetery’s visitors center. It depicts the September 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

It shows the heroic sacrifice of the brave police, firefighters and Pentagon employees, as well as the resolve of the nation’s gallant military forces to bring the “war on terrorism” to the terrorists no matter their haven, location or support base worldwide.

The main centerpieces are the Statue of Liberty in New York City’s harbor and the Statue of Armed Freedom, which rests atop the U.S. Capitol building dome of Congress. To me, both symbols define the American sense of spirit, duty and compassion. Below them is a purple and black mourning ribbon blending into the Purple Heart medal’s ribbons that link the Pentagon and the World Trade Center casualties. They are the two symbols of American sacrifice, which probably will continue as the war progresses. The background of the painting is the American flag.

Send contributions to the Blinded American Veterans Foundation, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C., 20035-5900.

A special thanks to the Pitney Bowes Corp. for agreeing to mail the prints to donors.

• VA is beginning a pilot project with Florida to help severely wounded service members get additional state benefits. The program will connect injured patients in that state with the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) Seamless Transition Program.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson has announced that VA has accepted a proposal by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to share information on those veterans who want to be contacted about Florida state benefits.

“This is a promising extension of VA’s own transition assistance for those leaving military service,” Mr. Nicholson said. “If well-received by Florida’s injured veterans, I hope we can partner with other states to make this long-term support possible for these most deserving veterans in other parts of the country.”

In the VA-Florida program, VA will provide an opportunity for injured veterans who are being treated in Defense Department medical facilities and are headed for VA treatment facilities after their discharge to authorize contact by the FDVA. The state is committed to providing lifelong follow-up aid to those veterans who need it and consent to be contacted.

Mr. Nicholson praised Mr. Bush and the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs for their initiative in trying to help Florida’s veterans. FDVA assists veterans and armed services members and their dependents with a variety of free benefits from Florida.

Information on FDVA and benefits for Florida veterans can be found at www.Floridavets.org.

• Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C., 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail [email protected]



Click to Read More

Click to Hide