VA refunds $400M in veteran home loan fees, some dating back 20 years

Abbie Bennett
October 08, 2019 - 1:05 pm
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Veterans are getting major refunds from the Department of Veterans Affairs for home loans they should have been exempt from or that were wrongly charged. 

The VA on Tuesday announced it had completed refunding more than $400 million in fees, the culmination of a multi-year review of "millions of VA-backed home loans" dating back as far as 20 years ago. 

“VA staff worked diligently throughout the summer reviewing 130,000 cases, which is an average of 16,000 loans reviewed per week,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “This effort included loans dating back nearly 20 years. Our administration prioritized fixing the problems and paid veterans what they were owed.” 

The VA identified more than 130,000 loans where a refund was due. Some of those fees were wrongly charged because of clerical errors, but VA said "most fees were charged correctly." 

But those "correctly" charged fees still had to be refunded for veterans who became exempt from the fees because they were issued a disability rating after closing their loan. 

Veterans eligible for refunds should have received a letter in the mail, VA said. 

The announcement follows a June letter from Congress members asking the VA reveal its plans to repay millions in veterans' home loan fees, and an Inspector General report that showed at least $286.4 million in the fees were wrongly charged to about 72,900 disabled veterans who should have been exempt. 

The average veteran is owed $4,483, according to the OIG report, and some veterans are owed as much as $19,470. 

To help veterans who may be exempt from these fees in the future, VA said it is: 

  • Enhancing its communications with veterans to better inform them about the fee and when it could be waived;
  • Providing guidance to lenders so they know to ask about a veteran's VA disability claim status during the loan process;
  • Changes within VA to ensure regular oversight to quickly identify veterans eligible for fee waivers or refunds. 

Veterans who think they are entitled to a refund of the home loan fee but have not yet received one should call their VA Regional Loan Center at 877-827-3702. 

VA owes veterans $286M for wrongly charged home loan fees. Congress wants answers.

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Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett.