As the political season gets in full swing, veterans issues have become a central talking point. Everybody loves veterans, but medical care, veterans’ courts, spousal benefits, and education cost money. With sequestration modification apparently off the table, it will be hard for Congress to keep expanding benefits. But what everyone knows is also what few […]
Written by Isaac F. Davis
Veterans and active duty military personnel want to know about VA Form 26-1880. What is the purpose of this form? The document known as VA Form 26-1880 is used to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The COE is a necessary document used to verify eligibility for VA home loan benefits. There are three ways by which Veterans, Active Duty, Reservists and National Guard members who have served on active duty can obtain a COE:
- Online: go to http://vip.vba.va.gov (Veterans Information Portal) click User Registration and follow prompts for obtaining COE
- Lender: give loan officer birth date and name for instant COE as long as serviceperson is in the online system
- Mail: fill out VA Form 26-1880 and send to the VA Winston-Salem Eligibility Office (surviving spouses must use VA Form 26-1817)
Web LGY is the online database lenders and veterans can access to obtain COEs quickly and easily. Surviving spouses do not have access to this system and currently can only apply for the COE by mail. VA Form 26-1880 must be used if a borrower or VA lender is unable to get a COE online.
In some instances, some VA-approved lenders may ask borrowers to fill out the form initially even before attempting to obtain COE through Web LGY just in case. Much of the information supplied with VA Form 26-1880 is useful whether to the lender whether the form is sent to the Winston-Salem VA Office of Eligibility or not. If it turns out the snail mail process is the only way a COE can be obtained, then borrowers should expect about a two-week wait.
A recent improvement to the VA COE process is an electronic version of the form through the Web LGY system. A fillable form can be filled out online and sent instantly to the Winston-Salem Office. This cuts out several days with the U.S. Mail system. Blank forms can be downloaded in PDF format on the VA website. For those who are not comfortable using a computer or the internet, a blank VA form 26-1880 can also obtained through a VA-approved lender.
Both electronic and paper forms request the same facts from servicepersons, and both must be completed accurately. Many of the questions on VA Form 26-1880 are self explanatory. The following is the basic information requested on the form:
- Name of Serviceperson
- Birth Date
- Daytime Phone Number
- Address and Email
- Mailing Address
- Military Service Data
- Disability Info
- Previous VA Loan Facts
- Date When Signed
For steps 1 – 5, borrowers must provide personal information like name, birth date, phone number, address, email and mailing address. The serviceperson’s name entered here must match military registration. The birth date should be in the format of month, day and year. A daytime phone number is needed so that the VA office of eligibility can reach the serviceperson during business hours if there are any questions concerning the information provided on the form. The address must contain a house number and street name (or rural route) or P.O. box number, city, state and zip. An email address is only necessary if the serviceperson has one. The VA office may use the email address as an alternative to a phone number to contact the military member if further information if needed. COE documents will be sent to the mailing address specified by the applicant. In some cases, mailing address is different than the serviceperson’s address requested earlier in Form 26-1880.
For step 6 on the form, the military member must complete a table for his or her military service. The periods of active service provided here must match military records exactly. The name must be the same as on separation papers or Statement of Service. Also, the military member is asked to attach proof of service, which can include a copy of form DD214 discharge papers for veterans or statement of service from personnel office or commanding officer. The table asks for social security number and service number. Sometimes only one is needed if the military member served under his or her social security number. The final column of the table asks for military branch. It should be indicated here if the military member served for a reserve branch.
For step 7, disability information must be provided. For those with certain service-connected disabilities, the VA funding fee is waived.
For step 8, prior VA loan information must be divulged. If the applicant used the VA home loan benefit in the past, then all the information here will be used to determine whether or not entitlement has been restored.
For steps 9 and 10, the veteran simply must sign and date the form. The remaining space on the form must be left blank for VA use. Completed VA 26-1880 forms are to be mailed to:
Department of Veterans Affairs
P.O. Box 20729
Winston-Salem, NC 27120
For questions on how to use VA form 26-1880 to obtain a COE, contact an experienced VA loan professional.