June 04, 2021

Brown, Reed, Tester Applaud Fixes to VA’s Assistance for Military Borrowers

Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Jack Reed (D-RI), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, and Jon Tester (D-MT), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for making changes to the agency’s proposed COVID-19 Veterans Assistance Partial Claim Payment (COVID-VAPCP) program in response to concerns raised by the Senators and other stakeholders. 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.

“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. “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 Senator Reed.

“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. “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.”

 In a letter sent in January 2021, 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.