U.S. SENATE – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making changes to the agency’s proposed COVID-19 Veterans Assistance Partial Claim Payment program following a push from U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.). The program, finalized last week, will help veterans with VA-guaranteed home loans return to making normal payments after exiting a COVID-19-related forbearance.
“Like others across the country, many of our nation’s men and women in uniform fell on tough times this past year trying to make payments to keep a roof over their head and get the meaningful support they needed,” said Tester, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “I appreciate Secretary McDonough making changes to VA’s home loan assistance program and for rightly answering our call to provide cost-free loan deferrals to veterans during the pandemic. This decision will help our servicemembers, veterans, and military families regain a financial foothold and get through this economic crisis.”
“This decision will keep veterans and servicemembers from losing their homes. As originally proposed, this program would have raised costs for those who served our country, and jeopardized their ability to stay in their homes. Secretary McDonough listened to the concerns my colleagues and I raised, and those raised by consumer advocates and lenders, and took action to ensure that veterans and servicemembers who have struggled during this pandemic have the opportunity to get back on track with their payments,” said Brown, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. “I am grateful to Secretary McDonough and his entire staff for acting to protect the veterans and servicemembers who serve our country.”
“I salute Secretary McDonough for listening to our concerns and taking action to help make needed fixes to the VA’s home loan assistance program for military borrowers,” said Reed, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
Earlier this year, the lawmakers highlighted that, as originally proposed, the program could add additional debt for military borrowers exiting forbearance, raise monthly costs, and cause military borrowers to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more than other borrowers. The Senators argued that VA should ensure our nation’s veterans have access to cost-free loan deferral or a loan modification during the pandemic. The final rule will allow veterans and servicemembers whose loans are in forbearance to resume their payments without increasing their monthly costs.