Homeowners Assistance Program: Are you eligible?
Let’s continue our discussion of the Homeowners Assistance Program from Part I – General Information into Part II – Are you Eligible by answering some basic questions about Expanded HAP regarding eligibility.
1. Who is eligible for benefits under Expanded HAP?
- Wounded, Ill or Injured service members and Department of Defense (“DoD”) civilian employees, including the Coast Guard.
- Surviving spouses of service members or civilian employees whose spouse dies as a result of a wound, injury or illness incurred in the line of duty.
- Service members and civilian employees affected by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) of 2005.
- Service members affected by Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders during the housing market crisis.
2. What are the requirements for the Wounded, Injured or Ill?
- For service members, you must: receive a disability rating of 30% or more for an unfitting condition (per VA Schedule for Ratings Disabilities), or be eligible for Service Member’s Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program, or have a treating physician (graded a Captain in the Navy/Coast Guard or Colonel in the Army/Air Force) certify that the member is likely to receive a disability rating of 30% or more for an unfitting condition (by preponderance of the evidence under the VA Schedule for Ratings Disabilities) for wounds, injuries or illness incurred in the line of duty while deployed, on or after September 11, 2001.
- For Civilian Employees of the DoD, you must: have suffered a wound, injury or illness which occurred during the performance of duties, (which was not the result of your own misconduct), while forward deployed in support of the Armed Forces on or after September 11, 2001, and have a treating physician, (graded a Captain in the Navy/Coast Guard or Colonel in the Army/Air Force), provide written documentation that employee meets the criteria for a 30% disability rating or more, by a preponderance of the evidence.
- For both: it must be shown that there is a need to relocate from your primary residence in order to further medical treatment, rehabilitation or medical retirement as a result of the wound, injury or illness, which causes the need to place the primary residence for sale.
3. What are the requirements for Surviving Spouses?
Surviving spouses must show that their spouse died as a result of a wound, injury or illness incurred in the line of duty while deployed (or while forward deployed for civilian employees) on or after September 11, 2001, and provide proof of relocation from the service member’s or civilian employee’s primary residence within two (2) years of the death of their spouse.
4. What are the requirements for those service members or civilian employees subject to the 2005 BRAC?
Service members, civilian employees and employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities must show:
- Purchase of their primary residence occurred prior to May 13, 2005 (date of the BRAC 2005 announcement),
- On May 13, 2005, they were assigned to an installation or unit identified for closure or realignment under BRAC 2005,
- Their position was eliminated or transferred and they accepted employment, or were required to relocate due to the transfer, beyond normal commuting distances (50 miles) from their primary residence, and
- A home value loss of 10% was suffered between July 1, 2006 and the date of application for Expanded HAP benefits in the county/city/parish where the primary residence is located, and a decline of at least 10% personal home value loss from the date of purchase to the date of sale.
5. What are the requirements for those subject to PCS orders?
PCS refers to the assignment or transfer of a service member to a different permanent duty station (“PDS”), which includes relocating to a place of retirement, pursuant to an order which does not specify the duty as being temporary, provides for further assignment to a new PDS, or directs the service member to return to the old PDS.
To qualify, the service member must show:
- They owned the home prior to July 1, 2006,
- The property was your primary residence
- PCS orders dated between February 1, 2006 and September 30, 2010, and said orders must specify a report-no-later-than date of on or before February 28, 2010,
- The new duty station or home port is more than 50 miles away from the previous duty station or home port,
- Suffered at least a 10% home value loss between July 1, 2006 and the date of application for Expanded HAP benefits for the county/parish/city in which the primary residence is located,
- Suffered at least a 10% decline of personal home value loss from the date of purchase to the date of sale, and
- You have not previously received benefit payments under Expanded HAP.
6. What if a civilian employee chooses to PCS for a higher paying job?
Choosing to move for a higher paying job does not meet the existing qualifications for Expanded HAP, and therefore an employee under these circumstances would not be eligible for benefits.
7. What if a service member or civilian employee is assigned to an installation and they purchased a home after the BRAC 2005 announcement?
If the service member or civilian employee was assigned to an installation and purchased a home after the May 13, 2005 BRAC announcement, you would not be eligible for benefits under Expanded HAP. However, a service member may be eligible for benefits if they meet the qualifications for PCS Benefits referenced in #5, above.
8. What if a service member or civilian employee retires?
If you are a BRAC 2005 eligible applicant, you would only qualify for benefits if your position is moved or eliminated.
If you are reassigned or otherwise relocate due to PCS orders, you would not be eligible for benefits under the following circumstances:
- Retirement prior to reaching your mandatory retirement date,
- If you are a new accession into the Armed Forces or are otherwise entering active duty,
- If you are voluntarily separated or discharged,
- If your separation or discharge is deemed less than honorable,
- If you request and receive a voluntary release from active duty (“REFRAD”), or
- If you are REFRAD as a result of misconduct or poor performance.
If you determine that you meet the eligibility requirements, stay tuned for Part III of the blog on how you apply for benefits.