VA announces disaster assistance after tornado outbreaks

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Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs announced May 17 that special disaster assistance may be available to veterans with VA-guaranteed home loans who have been affected by recent tornados.

Veterans living in designated disaster areas may receive mortgage assistance through their loan servicers.

"VA wants to do everything we can to help veterans and their families during this difficult time," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "It is important for veterans to be aware of their rights and understand there are many resources available to help them recover from this disaster."

VA officials said they strongly encourage mortgage companies not to initiate any new foreclosures in the disaster areas for a period of 90 days.

They said they also encourage mortgage companies that service VA-guaranteed home loans to extend every possible forbearance to borrowers who are in distress through no fault of their own. This includes suspension of reporting to credit bureaus and waiving late charges for affected borrowers.

Veterans should contact their insurance company as soon as possible to file claims for losses. At the same time, they need to contact their mortgage companies to let them know their circumstances.

Veterans should also start the FEMA disaster application process as soon as possible by calling 800-621-3362. Low interest loans, cash grants and housing assistance may be available from agencies associated with the disaster recovery effort.

VA has information available on its website,, which provides basic guidance on options veterans should consider following a major disaster. Veterans may also contact their nearest VA regional loan center at 877-827-3702.