2009 VA Funding Fee: Understanding Its Impact and Evolution

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Are you curious about the VA funding fee back in 2009? Understanding this fee is crucial for veterans and service members who were looking into buying, building, or refinancing a home through the VA loan program during that period. The VA funding fee is a one-time payment that helps to lower the cost of loans for U.S. taxpayers by covering the program’s administrative costs.

In 2009, the housing market was navigating through turbulent times, and the VA loan program was a beacon of hope for many veterans. The fee varied depending on several factors, including the type of loan, the borrower’s military status, and whether it was their first time using the VA loan benefit. Let’s dive into the specifics of the VA funding fee in 2009, shedding light on how it impacted veterans and their families during a pivotal time in the housing market.

Understanding the VA Funding Fee

The VA funding fee in 2009 played a pivotal role in making the VA loan program both sustainable and beneficial for veterans and service members. Essentially, this fee, calculated as a percentage of the loan amount, was required to finance the loan’s closing costs without placing the burden on taxpayers. It’s vital to grasp that the fee’s percentage varied depending on a few key factors: the type of loan, the military status of the applicant, and whether the applicant had used the VA loan benefit before.

For first-time users of the VA loan benefit in 2009 purchasing with no down payment, the funding fee was 2.15% for regular military members. For those in the Reserves or National Guard, the fee was slightly higher, at 2.4%. Importantly, these rates applied to both purchase and construction loans. For applicants looking to refinance, a different set of rates applied: 2.15% for regular military and 2.4% for Reserves and National Guard for the first time use. However, for subsequent uses, the fee increased to 3.3% for all members, reinforcing the incentive for beneficiaries to maximize their initial use of the benefit.

Another significant aspect to consider is that certain applicants were exempt from paying the VA funding fee. This exemption was specifically for veterans receiving VA disability compensation for service-connected disabilities and surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from their service-connected disabilities. Understanding these nuances was crucial for applicants in 2009 as it directly influenced their loan costs and overall affordability of obtaining a VA loan during a financially difficult period.

The year 2009’s housing market challenges underscored the value of the VA loan program. The VA funding fee was a key component in maintaining the program’s viability, ensuring that veterans had access to home ownership opportunities without additional cost to taxpayers, all while covering necessary administrative expenses to keep the program running smoothly.

What Was the VA Funding Fee in 2009?

Understanding the VA funding fee in 2009 is essential for grasping the operational framework of the VA loan program during that period. This fee, integral to the loan’s structure, helped to finance the program’s continuity, making it a key component in the sustainability of veterans’ homeownership benefits. In 2009, the VA funding fee was structured to vary depending on several factors: the nature of service (regular military vs. Reserves or National Guard), the type of loan (purchase, construction, or refinancing), and whether it was a first-time or subsequent use of the VA loan benefit.

For first-time users, the fee was set at 2.15% for those in regular military service and 2.4% for members of the Reserves or National Guard. This fee applied uniformly to both purchase and construction loans, offering a straightforward approach to those entering the homeownership journey through the VA loan program.

Refinancing loans in 2009 saw a different set of rates. Specifically, for streamlined (IRRRL) refinance loans, the fee was significantly lower, encouraging veterans to take advantage of refinancing options to secure better mortgage terms. However, for Cash-Out refinancing loans, the rate was set higher, reflecting the increased level of risk and administrative work involved in these transactions.

Subsequent uses of the VA loan benefit triggered a higher funding fee. This fee was standard across the board at 3.3%, regardless of the type of service. This increase aimed to balance the program’s benefits with its long-term viability, especially in light of the increased foreclosure risks and market instability of the time.

Exceptions to these rates were made for specific applicants. Disabled veterans and surviving spouses were amongst those exempt from the funding fee, underscoring the VA’s commitment to supporting those with the greatest need.

The VA funding fee in 2009 played a pivotal role in maintaining the loan program’s health, ensuring that it could continue to serve veterans effectively without imposing extra costs on taxpayers, thereby promoting sustainable homeownership among the veteran community.

Calculating the VA Funding Fee

Understanding how to calculate the VA funding fee as it was in 2009 involves knowing the loan’s purpose, your military status, whether it’s your first time using the VA loan benefit or a subsequent use, and any down payment amount. The fee was determined as a percentage of the loan amount, directly influencing the overall cost of the loan.

  • Determine the Purpose of Your Loan: Different types of VA loans had different funding fees. Purchase and construction loans had a fee of 2.15% for regular military and 2.4% for Reserves or National Guard for first-time users. For refinancing, the rates could vary.
  • Identify Your Military Status: Your status as a regular military member, Reserves, or National Guard affected the fee percentage. Regular military members paid slightly lower fees compared to Reserves or National Guard.
  • Establish First-Time or Subsequent Use: If it was your first time using the VA loan benefit, the fees were lower. Subsequent uses saw an increase in the funding fee, jumping to 3.3% for all military statuses in most cases.
  • Consider Any Down Payment: Although not common for VA loans, making a down payment could reduce the funding fee. The 2009 structure favored those who could afford a down payment, reducing the overall percentage required as a funding fee.
  • Apply Exemptions if Eligible: Certain veterans, including those with service-connected disabilities and the surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-connected disabilities, were exempt from the funding fee. This exemption significantly reduced the closing costs of obtaining a VA loan.

Calculating the VA funding fee in 2009 required integrating these factors into a formula. Multiplying the applicable percentage by the loan amount gave you the funding fee. For example, a $200,000 loan for a first-time regular military user would incur a 2.15% funding fee, totaling $4,300. Understanding these details helped veterans and service members plan effectively for homeownership, taking into account the unique financial aspects of the VA loan program during that period.

Impacts of the 2009 VA Funding Fee

The VA funding fee set in 2009 significantly influenced both the cost structure of VA loans and veterans’ paths to homeownership. As an essential part of the VA loan program, the fee aimed to reduce taxpayer burden by funding the program itself, ensuring its sustainability and the continued provision of benefits to veterans and service members. Understanding its impacts provides insights into how veterans navigated the home buying process during this period.

Financial Planning and Budgeting

Incorporating the VA funding fee into the overall loan amount meant veterans had to account for an additional cost when planning their budgets. For first-time users acquiring a no-down-payment loan, the 2.15% or 2.4% fee, depending on military service, required careful financial planning. This upfront cost affected monthly mortgage payments, making it crucial for veterans to calculate the long-term implications on their budget.

Loan Affordability and Accessibility

By directly influencing the total loan amount, the funding fee impacted loan affordability for many veterans. However, the ability to finance the fee as part of the loan made VA loans more accessible for veterans who might not have been able to pay closing costs upfront. This feature of the VA loan program underscores its purpose to make homeownership more attainable for those who have served.

Exemptions and Reduced Costs for Eligible Individuals

Exemptions provided relief for disabled veterans and surviving spouses, highlighting the program’s flexibility and consideration for those with additional sacrifices or burdens. These exemptions played a crucial role in lowering the barrier to homeownership, demonstrating the VA’s commitment to acknowledging and compensating for the sacrifices made by service members and their families.

The 2009 VA funding fee affected various aspects of veterans’ home buying experiences, from altering financial planning practices to modifying loan affordability. It also emphasized inclusivity within the VA loan program through exemptions for eligible individuals, showcasing the VA’s dedication to supporting veterans’ homeownership goals.

Changes Following 2009

After 2009, the VA funding fee experienced several adjustments, directly affecting veterans seeking to use the VA loan program. These changes reflected broader efforts to maintain the program’s sustainability while ensuring it remained an accessible and impactful resource for veterans and their families.

Firstly, the amount of the VA funding fee saw periodic revisions, aimed at aligning with fiscal policies and the economic environment. Depending on the type of loan, whether it was a first-time use or subsequent use, and the down payment amount, veterans noticed variability in the fees they were required to pay. For instance, higher down payments typically resulted in lower funding fees, providing an incentive for veterans to contribute more upfront.

Secondly, legislation introduced temporary and permanent changes to the fee structure, responding to economic shifts and the need to fund veterans’ benefits comprehensively. These legislative actions occasionally adjusted funding fee rates to reflect current economic conditions, ensuring the VA loan program’s viability.

Furthermore, the VA funding fee exemptions expanded, offering relief to more veterans who qualified under specific conditions, such as those receiving VA compensation for service-connected disabilities, recipients of the Purple Heart, and surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-connected causes. This adjustment underscored a commitment to recognizing the sacrifices veterans and their families make.

Finally, the process for rolling the funding fee into the overall loan amount remained, providing veterans with the option to finance the fee rather than pay it upfront. This continued to be a critical feature, aiding veterans in achieving homeownership without the burden of additional significant out-of-pocket expenses at closing.

These changes since 2009 have underscored the VA’s flexibility and responsiveness to both veterans’ needs and broader economic factors, demonstrating a constant evolution of the VA loan program to serve veterans better.


Understanding the evolution of the VA funding fee since 2009 reveals the program’s commitment to adapting to veterans’ needs and broader economic conditions. The adjustments and legislative changes over the years have not only ensured the sustainability of the VA loan program but have also enhanced its benefits for veterans. With options like rolling the fee into the loan amount and expanded exemptions, the path to homeownership for veterans has become more accessible than ever. It’s clear that these developments reflect a deep appreciation for veterans’ service and a dedication to providing them with meaningful support.


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