Qualifying for a VA (Veteran’s Affairs) loan, after you have received a bad conduct discharge from the military, can be difficult. A bad conduct discharge (BCD) usually leads to the loss of all military benefits, including access to VA loans. However, you can attempt to have your BCD upgraded so you can have your benefits restored.
Contact your regional VA office. The usual first step in getting a VA loan is applying for a Certificate of Eligibility, but you will not get approved with a BCD on your record. The representatives there can offer advice based on the particulars of your case and provide you with the appropriate paperwork for your appeal.
Launch an appeal to have your BCD upgraded to a different kind of discharge. It is important to do this within 15 years of receiving the discharge. You will need a DD Form 293, which can be obtained through the VA. The VA can also help you fill out the form and decide if you need to hire a lawyer to help you with the appeal. Note that BCD reversals are granted as a matter of clemency only–the nature of the behavior that earned the BCD remains on your record. If it has been more than 15 years since your discharge, you will need to ask the Board for Correction of Military Records to hear your case, but they will usually only do so if there is good cause that the BCD was issued in error, such as a legal inaccuracy in a court martial associated with your BCD.
Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility. If your BCD has been upgraded, you can apply for this certificate, which you will then take to a private lender as proof that the VA will back any loan they issue to you. The application asks questions about your military service and discharge and can be obtained through the VA. If you are unsure of how to fill out your application, the VA can walk you through the process.
Lily Welsh is a freelance writer from North Carolina, though she has spent much of her adult life living abroad. She is the About.com Guide to Music Careers, and her work appears frequently in other Web-based and print publications. Welsh has worked in the music industry for 15 years and counting and holds B.A.s in international studies and economics.