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VA Loan Forbearance: Everything You Need To Know

October 27, 2023 4-minute read

Author: Miranda Crace


Have you found yourself in a compromising situation with your home loan? If you served in the military, you might benefit from looking into a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan forbearance.

Forbearance occurs when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause or reduce your payments for a limited period of time. Let’s take a look at what you should know about the VA forbearance guidelines and the options available to you.

See What You Qualify For


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What Options Are Unique To VA Mortgages?

The VA has adopted a variety of protections for servicemembers suffering financial stress. Take a look at the options that might fit your needs below.


The VA IRRRL (pronounced “earl”), also called a VA Streamline loan, offers a refinance option that moves more quickly and requires a less complex process than a traditional refinance. In order to qualify for a VA IRRRL, you must have an existing VA loan.

VA Streamlines can help you:

A VA IRRRL can help you feel less of a pinch and also offers a few other perks, including reduced paperwork. Closing costs and fees can also be rolled into the mortgage.

Loss Mitigation Options

Not sure you want to pursue an IRRRL? Speak to your servicer about any assistance you might qualify for. Rocket Mortgage® clients can fill out our Application for Success. As a service member, you can get help from a VA loan technician if you just want an idea of the alternatives. Either way, your servicer will work with you to see if you qualify for various alternatives, including:

  • Repayment plans: This option takes your missed payments and spreads them out over time by adding some amount to your monthly payment until your back payments are made up.
  • Loan modifications: In a loan modification, the terms of your loan are modified to incorporate your past-due balance. The modified loan will have different terms and often includes a change in the length of the loan and the interest rate.
  • Private sale: In a private sale, a lender holds off on foreclosure to allow you time to sell your home.
  • Short sale: If you qualify for a short sale, a lender approves a sale for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. You must show a financial hardship for this to be an option your servicer will consider.
  • Deed in lieu of foreclosure: A deed in lieu of foreclosure means the mortgage holder signs the deed over to the lender and walks away from the property. This is also referred to as a mortgage release. In some instances, you may be able to receive relocation assistance to find your next living arrangement.


The VA can, under its discretionary authority, refund your loans. In other words, the VA may buy and take over servicing from a lender when the lender cannot extend satisfactory options to resolve your forbearance. Note: This procedure doesn't occur often – lenders generally want to work with borrowers who experience financial hardship.

In most cases, the VA will only pursue refunding if you have had problems making the payments due to circumstances beyond your control. In addition, the VA typically pursues this avenue knowing that your financial situation will improve so that payments will resume in the near future – but the lender doesn't want to wait to terminate the loan.

You can access a Refund Status Report through the Servicer Web Portal, where you can submit claims with supporting documentation. The VA must review every refunding case during its adequacy of servicing review.

Beware Of Unscrupulous Lenders

As a veteran, you want to watch out for unscrupulous lenders. These lenders target VA mortgage holders by encouraging them to apply over and over for loans in a process called churning.

The VA is aware of this unethical breach and tries to prevent this practice by requiring seasoning. Seasoning means borrowers must make at least six consecutive, timely payments on the loan to refinance. If you didn't make enough payments prior to invoking forbearance, you would need to make six additional consecutive payments after forbearance in order to meet the seasoning requirement. The date of closing for the refinance loan must also be 212 or more days after the first payment due date of the loan being refinanced.

The Bottom Line: The VA Is Committed To Keeping Service Members In Their Homes

The VA has various assistance alternatives for eligible service members, veterans and qualifying surviving spouses who are struggling with their mortgage payment. Talk to your mortgage servicer about options that may be available.

Ready to apply for a VA IRRRL loan? We can help you get started today. If this doesn't work for you, Rocket Mortgage clients in need of assistance may fill out our Application for Success.

Need extra cash?

Leverage your home equity with a cash-out refinance.

Miranda Crace

Miranda Crace is a Senior Section Editor for the Rocket Companies, bringing a wealth of knowledge about mortgages, personal finance, real estate, and personal loans for over 10 years. Miranda is dedicated to advancing financial literacy and empowering individuals to achieve their financial and homeownership goals. She graduated from Wayne State University where she studied PR Writing, Film Production, and Film Editing. Her creative talents shine through her contributions to the popular video series "Home Lore" and "The Red Desk," which were nominated for the prestigious Shorty Awards. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys traveling, actively engages in the entrepreneurial community, and savors a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.