Latest Update: When Did VA Funding Fee Change & Its Impact?

by | VA Loans | 1 comment

Navigating the landscape of VA loans can seem daunting, especially with changes in funding fees that directly impact your pocket. If you’re a veteran or active military member looking into buying a home, understanding these fees and their recent adjustments is crucial. The VA funding fee, a one-time payment to the Department of Veterans Affairs, underwent significant changes not too long ago, affecting many borrowers.

These adjustments were designed to offset the costs of the loans for taxpayers, ensuring the VA Home Loan program remains viable for future generations of veterans and service members. Whether you’re purchasing, refinancing, or tapping into your home equity, knowing when these changes took place and how they affect you is key to making informed decisions. Let’s dive into the specifics of the VA funding fee changes, ensuring you’re equipped with the knowledge to navigate your home buying journey with confidence.

History of VA Funding Fee Changes

Understanding the evolution of VA funding fee adjustments is crucial for veterans and active military members navigating the home buying or refinancing process. These fees have varied over the years in response to legislation and the fiscal requirements of the VA Home Loan program. The fees are designed to fund the program, ensuring it remains solvent without relying on taxpayer dollars.

Initially, VA funding fees were instituted to cover the costs associated with the VA Home Loan program, offering a balance between the needs of veterans and the fiscal responsibility toward taxpayers. Over time, these fees have been adjusted periodically to reflect changes in government policy, economic conditions, and the financial health of the VA loan program itself.

Significant changes occurred with the passing of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. This legislation, effective January 1, 2020, marked a notable adjustment in VA funding fees. It temporarily increased rates for all borrowers, with the intent of financing healthcare for Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Specifically, the Act raised the funding fee for first-time users from 2.15% to 2.3% for those making a down payment less than 5% on a regular military loan. For subsequent use, the fee increased from 3.3% to 3.6%. The increases were set to last until January 1, 2022, but subsequent legislative acts have adjusted these timelines and percentages to ensure the program’s sustainability.

Additionally, there are exemptions to the funding fee for certain groups, including veterans receiving disability benefits and surviving spouses of veterans who died in service. These exemptions are part of the VA’s commitment to making homeownership accessible and affordable for those who have served the country.

Keeping abreast of these changes ensures you can accurately calculate the costs involved in using the VA Home Loan benefit, aiding in budgeting and financial planning for a home purchase or refinance.

Impact of VA Funding Fee Changes on Veterans

The changes in the VA funding fee have direct repercussions for veterans and active military members seeking to use the VA Home Loan program. Understanding these adjustments is critical for estimating your home buying or refinancing costs accurately. The impact varies based on your specific circumstances, including loan type, down payment size, and whether it’s your first time using the benefit.

For first-time users, the fee for a zero down payment loan increased slightly but remains below traditional mortgage insurance rates. If you’re making a down payment of at least 5%, the fee decreases, encouraging more substantial initial investments. Subsequent users see a slight uptick in fees, underscoring the importance of considering all financial aspects when planning a subsequent home purchase or refinance through the VA Home Loan program.

Disabled veterans and surviving spouses remain exempt from the funding fee, a move designed to ease the financial burden on those who’ve sacrificed significantly. This exemption represents a significant saving, removing a potential barrier to homeownership.

The temporary increase in funding fees due to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 primarily supported healthcare initiatives. Understanding this context helps veterans appreciate the broader implications of the fees, beyond their individual home loan scenario.

Adjustments to the VA funding fee schedule underscore the importance of staying informed about legislative changes affecting veterans’ benefits. By understanding these shifts, you can better plan your finances and navigate the home buying or refinancing process with confidence.

What Triggered the Recent Changes?

The recent adjustments in the VA funding fee structure can be traced back to specific legislative and economic developments. Primarily, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 played a pivotal role, aiming to extend benefits to more veterans, including those who served off the coast of Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange. This legislation mandated an increase in VA funding fees to finance the expanded healthcare and disability compensation for affected veterans. The act reflects a broader commitment to ensuring the well-being of veterans, acknowledging their sacrifices by providing enhanced benefits.

Economic factors also contribute to changes in the VA funding fee. The fee adjustments help maintain the sustainability of the VA Home Loan program, which operates without taxpayer funding. By adjusting fees, the VA ensures that the loan program can continue to offer competitive interest rates and terms to veterans and active military members.

The fluctuations in housing market conditions have an indirect influence on these changes. As the housing market evolves, the VA Home Loan program must adapt to ensure it remains a viable and attractive option for veterans. Therefore, periodic adjustments to the funding fee are necessary to keep the program aligned with current economic realities.

Lastly, feedback from veterans and stakeholders plays a role. The VA routinely assesses the impact of the funding fee on veterans’ access to housing and makes adjustments to address any barriers identified. This feedback loop ensures that the VA Home Loan program remains responsive to the needs of its beneficiaries.

Understanding these triggers helps you grasp the rationale behind the recent VA funding fee changes. Staying informed allows you to anticipate future adjustments and plan accordingly, ensuring you make the most of the VA Home Loan benefit.

Detailed Overview of the Latest VA Funding Fee Changes

Following the legislative and economic triggers outlined, the latest VA funding fee changes merit close attention. These updates reflect the ongoing effort to balance the program’s solvency with affordable access for veterans. Notably, the changes introduced are directly influenced by the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, targeting adjustments in the fee structure.

Effective January 1, 2020, the VA funding fee experienced a slight increase for both purchase and refinance loans. For first-time use, the funding fee for regular military borrowers increased from 2.15% to 2.3% of the loan amount for zero down payments. Similarly, for National Guard and Reserve members, the fee rose from 2.4% to 2.3% under the same conditions. These adjustments aim to address the funding requirements set forth by the Blue Water Navy Act, indirectly supporting veterans affected by Agent Orange exposure.

Subsequent uses of the VA loan now incur a 3.6% funding fee, marking a slight uptick from previous rates. This adjustment applies across the board, regardless of the borrower’s military affiliation, emphasizing the program’s move towards uniformity.

However, it’s crucial to note the permanent exemption for specific groups. Disabled veterans and their surviving spouses remain exempt from the VA funding fee, alleviating financial burdens and advancing the program’s goal of accessible homeownership.

The fee structure also underscores an important aspect for those considering refinancing. Those opting for the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) see a funding fee of 0.5%, unchanged, promoting affordability and flexibility in managing home loans.

These changes, while reflecting a modest increase, are designed with the dual intent of ensuring the VA Home Loan program’s fiscal health and extending its benefits to a broader veteran population. As housing market conditions evolve and legislative measures continue to shape the program, these funding fee adjustments serve as a critical component in maintaining the balance between access and sustainability.

How to Prepare for Future VA Funding Fee Changes

Preparing for future VA funding fee changes involves staying informed and planning your finances wisely. Since legislative changes and economic factors can influence these fees at any time, having a strategy ensures you’re never caught off guard. Here are steps to ensure you’re ready for any adjustments.

Stay Updated with Legislation

Monitor legislative developments that might impact VA funding fees. Congress can pass legislation that affects these fees, as seen with the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. Websites like and are reliable sources for up-to-date information on bills and laws affecting veterans’ benefits, including VA loans.

Consult a VA Loan Specialist

Engage with a VA loan specialist regularly. These professionals have the latest information on VA funding fees and can provide insights into potential future changes. They’ll help you understand how such adjustments might affect your loan costs.

Set Aside Funds

Consider setting aside a small percent of your savings to buffer against potential increases in VA funding fees. If you’re planning to use or refinance a VA loan, having extra funds can cover any unforeseen increases in these fees, minimizing financial stress.

Opt for Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Choosing a fixed-rate mortgage over an adjustable-rate mortgage ensures your interest rate—and consequently, your monthly payments—remain consistent, regardless of market fluctuations. This stability makes financial planning simpler, even if VA funding fees change.

Reevaluate Your Refinancing Options

If you’re considering refinancing your VA loan, compare the benefits of the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) against other refinancing options. Despite funding fee changes, the IRRRL often remains a cost-effective choice due to its lower funding fee rate.

By staying informed, consulting with professionals, saving appropriately, selecting stable mortgage options, and evaluating refinancing choices, you can navigate future VA funding fee changes effectively. This approach ensures you maintain fiscal health while benefiting from the VA Home Loan program.


Navigating the landscape of VA funding fees requires a proactive approach. With the landscape shaped significantly by the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve. By keeping abreast of legislative changes and understanding the impact on your financial planning, you can ensure that you’re always prepared for any adjustments in VA funding fees. Consulting with specialists and setting aside funds are wise moves that can safeguard your fiscal health within the VA Home Loan program. Remember, with the right strategies and a keen eye on the evolving VA funding fee structure, you can make informed decisions that benefit your home buying or refinancing journey.


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