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For direct online access to VA benefits and resources, create an account here.

On average, every year about 350,000 Americans lose their homes to foreclosure.

That’s when one falls way far behind mortgage payments and the bank or mortgage servicer that’s expected them takes the home away.

While this certainly can happen to veterans too, there’s an option offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that can protect a vet’s home from this nightmare scenario.

It’s called VA financial counseling, and here’s how you qualify to receive it:

if you’re a veteran or a surviving spouse of a veteran

if you have a VA-direct or VA-backed loan you can request a VA Loan Technician to be assigned to you and give you counsel as well as work with the servicer on payments and timing (if you have a VA-direct or VA-backed loan and your payments are 61 days past due you’ll automatically be assigned a VA Loan Technician)

To have a VA Loan Technician assigned to you, see this page.

To check out VA home loan options or to get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE), click here.

Generally, there are six ways you can avoid the dreaded aforementioned decision (foreclosure): a repayment plan, special forbearance (extra time to pay), loan modification (new payment schedule), extra time to setup a private sale, short sale (if you owe more money than your home is worth, this can be a way out — the servicer forgives the debt by accepting all of the proceeds of the sale) and deed in lieu of foreclosure (essentially signing over the deed of the home to the servicer (bank or mortgage company usually).

For more information on these six options, click here.