This measure would expand the number of veterans and surviving spouses who are eligible to receive low-interest home loans from the Oregon War Veterans’ Fund. In 1944, by legislative referral, voters amended the Oregon Constitution to create the ‘Oregon War Veterans’ Fund’ to provide low-interest home loans to some Oregon residents who served in the United States Armed Forces and their surviving spouses.
The Oregon Constitution currently requires that, to be eligible for a loan from the Oregon War Veterans’ Fund, a person must have honorably served in active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States for 210 consecutive days (unless discharged from active duty due to service-related illness or injury) or must have seen combat. The person also must have been honorably discharged or separated from the Armed Forces. The veteran must apply for the loan within 30 years after the veteran was released from active duty. Loans are for primary residences and are made only to those who can show an ability to repay. Surviving spouses of veterans who died, became missing in action or became prisoners of war while in service also are eligible to receive loans under certain conditions.
Because veterans must apply for loans within 30 years of discharge, many Vietnam-era combat veterans who were honorably discharged are no longer eligible for the loans. Because of the requirement that a veteran serve for 210 consecutive days, many Oregon veterans who served in the military after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and were honorably discharged are not eligible for the loans.
This measure would make the loans available to any Oregon veteran who has served under honorable conditions on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, as long as the veteran meets certain financial eligibility criteria. The measure uses the same definition of “veteran” as is used in Oregon law. The measure eliminates the constitutional requirement that loans be applied for within 30 years of discharge, making eligibility for a loan a lifetime benefit for veterans, as long as they meet the other qualification criteria. This measure also eliminates the requirement that a veteran serve for 210 continuous days. Under Oregon law, a person would be a “veteran” if the person completed at least 178 consecutive days of service or saw combat, and received an honorable discharge. This measure also makes the loans available to surviving spouses of veterans, regardless of whether the veteran resided in Oregon, if the deceased veteran meets certain eligibility criteria and the surviving spouse resides in Oregon at the time of application for the loan.
If this measure were to pass, more Oregon veterans and surviving spouses would be eligible to receive a low-interest home loan through the Oregon War Veterans’ Fund.
(This impartial statement explaining the measure was provided by the Legislative Assembly of the 2009 Regular Session.)