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FAQs

Q. How do I apply?

A. Only applications for benefits by Wounded, Injured, or Ill members of the Armed Forces and civilian employees and Surviving Spouses are currently being accepted. Applications for permanent change of station (PCS) or BRAC 2005 are no longer being accepted.

Please download the application. Once the application has been completed, the original must be mailed, not emailed or faxed, to:

U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah
Corps of Engineers
Attn: CESAS-RE-AH
100 West Oglethorpe Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31401-3604

Q. Will the applications be handled in a first come first serve manner?

A. Applications will be processed as quickly as possible in the following order:

1.      Wounded, Injured, and Ill. Within this category, applications will generally be processed in chronological order of the wound, injury, or illness.

2.      Surviving Spouses. Within this category, applications will generally be processed in chronological order of the date of death of the member or employee.

3.      BRAC Impacted Personnel. There is currently no approved HAP for BRAC Impacted Personnel. Within this category, applications will generally be processed in chronological order of the date of job elimination.

Q. What should I do after I mail in my completed application?

A. Wait for a confirmation email. Within 3 business days of receipt of your application by the Savannah District, you will receive a confirmation email. Within 30 business days of receipt of application, you will receive another email addressing the status of your application.

Q. What are the specific eligibility requirements for Wounded, Injured, or Ill?

A. For members of the Armed Forces:

1.      The wound, injury or illness must have been incurred in the line of duty while deployed on or after September 11, 2001;

2.      The member must receive a disability rating of 30% or more for an unfitting condition (using the Department of Veterans Affairs Schedule for Ratings Disabilities), or be eligible for Service members Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program, or the member’s treating physician (in a grade of at least Captain in the Navy or Coast Guard or Colonel in Army, Marine Corps, or Air Force) must certify that the member is likely, by a preponderance of the evidence, to receive a disability rating of 30% or more for an unfitting condition (using the Department of Veterans Affairs Schedule for Ratings Disabilities) for the wound, injury, or illness;

3.      The member must have been the owner of the primary residence when the wound, injury or illness was incurred (primary residence is defined as the one- or two-family dwelling from which members regularly commute or commuted to their primary place of duty);

4.      The member must be reassigned in furtherance of medical treatment or rehabilitation, or due to retirement in connection with such disability; and

5.      The member must need to market the primary residence for sale due to the wound, injury or illness (for example, the need to be closer to a hospital or a family member caregiver or the need to find work more accommodating to the disability).

For Civilian Employees of DoD or the United States Coast Guard (excluding temporary employees or contractors, but including employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities):

1.      The wound, injury or illness must have occurred (not due to own misconduct) on or after September 11, 2001, in the performance of duties while forward deployed in support of the Armed Forces;

2.      The civilian employee’s treating physician must provide written documentation that the individual, by a preponderance of the evidence, meets the criteria for a disability rating of 30% or more, this documentation must be certified by a physician in the grade of at least Captain in the Navy or Coast Guard or Colonel in Army, Marine Corps, or Air Force;

3.      The civilian employee must have been the owner-occupant of the primary residence when forward deployed in support of the Armed Forces to an area where the medical condition occurred (Primary residence is defined as the one- or two-family dwelling from which members regularly commute or commuted to their primary place of duty. The relevant property for which compensation might be offered must have been the primary residence of the civilian employee at the time of the relevant wound, injury, or illness.);

4.      The member must be reassigned in furtherance of medical treatment or rehabilitation, or due to retirement in connection with such disability; and

5.      The member must need to market the primary residence for sale due to the wound, injury or illness (for example, the need to be closer to a hospital or a family member caregiver or the need to find work more accommodating to the disability).

Q. What are the specific eligibility requirements for a Surviving Spouse?

A. A spouse of a member of the Armed Forces or a civilian employee of the DoD or the United States Coast Guard may be eligible when:

1.      The member or employee dies in the line of duty or in the performance of his or her duties during a deployment on or after September 11, 2001, in support of the Armed Forces or dies from a wound, injury, or illness incurred in the line of duty during such a deployment; and

2.      The spouse relocates from the member’s primary residence within 2 years after the death of such member or employee (Primary residence is defined as the one- or two-family dwelling from which members regularly commute or commuted to their primary place of duty. The relevant property for which compensation might be offered must have been the primary residence of the member at the time that the relevant wound, injury, or illness was incurred.)

Q. What are the specific eligibility requirements for BRAC Impacted Personnel?

A. There is currently no approved HAP for BRAC impacted personnel. If a program were approved for BRAC impacted personnel, the following would be applicable:

A civilian employee or member of the Armed Forces:

1.      assigned to or employed at or in connection with the installation or activity at the time of public announcement of the closure action or employed by a non-appropriated fund instrumentality operated in connection with such base or installation; and

2.      must have been transferred from such installation or activity, or terminated as an employee as a result of a reduction in force, within six months prior to public announcement of the closure action; or

3.      must have been transferred from the installation or activity on an overseas tour within three years prior to public announcement of the closure action.

A member of the Armed Forces shall also be eligible if:

1.      the member was transferred from the installation or activity within three years prior to public announcement of the closure action; and

2.      in connection with the transfer, was informed of a future, programmed reassignment to the installation.

In addition, at the time of public announcement of the closure action, or at the time of transfer or termination, such personnel or employees must:

1.      have been the owner-occupant of the home for which compensation is sought; or

2.      have vacated the owned home as a result of being ordered into on-post housing during a six-month period prior to the closure announcement.

As a consequence of such closure action, employees or personnel must:

1.      be required to relocate because of military transfer or acceptance of employment beyond a normal commuting distance from the home for which compensation is sought; or

2.      be unemployed, not as a matter of personal choice, and able to demonstrate such financial hardship that they are unable to meet their mortgage payments and related expenses.

Q. If I retire from a BRAC affected installation, am I eligible for HAP benefits under the BRAC Impacted Personnel category?

A. To be eligible for HAP benefits, an employee must be required to relocate because of military transfer or acceptance of employment beyond a normal commuting distance from the home for which compensation is sought, or be unemployed, not as a matter of personal choice, and able to demonstrate such financial hardship that they are unable to meet their mortgage payments and related expenses. An employee who voluntarily retires would not meet these criteria.

Q. My spouse is the sole owner of the home for which compensation is sought. Am I eligible for HAP benefits?

A. Spousal ownership is allowed where either the applicant or spouse is the fee simple owner of the property. For BRAC Impacted Personnel, the applicant must have been married to their spouse at the time of the BRAC public announcement. Where the applicant has an ownership interest with someone other than a spouse, the remaining owner(s) must deed their interest to the applicant prior to Government acquisition. Where the applicant has an ownership interest with someone other than a spouse, private sale benefits will be paid in accordance with the amount of interest the applicant has in the property.

Q. Do owners of condominiums or mobile homes qualify for HAP benefits?

A. Applicants who own individual units in condominiums or cooperatives may qualify for HAP benefits. However, the government may not be able to directly acquire properties subject to certain types of covenants and restrictions frequently included in homeowner association agreements. Applicants who own mobile homes qualify for HAP benefits if the mobile home is affixed to the land in accordance with local and state laws and regulations and the underlying real estate is held in either fee simple, long term lease (27.5 years or longer) or contract to purchase.

Q. What rights do I have if I am not satisfied with the decision made regarding my application for HAP benefits?

A. You have the right to appeal any decision denying benefits or contesting the amount of benefits approved. No particular format is required. Simply submit a written statement either by email or sent via United States Postal Service, of your objections to the Savannah District. If the appeal is not approved by the Savannah District, your appeal will be submitted to Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (HQUSACE). If a favorable decision cannot be made by HQUSACE, the appeal will be forwarded to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Housing & Partnerships) (DASA (IH&P)). If a favorable decision cannot be made by DASA (IH&P), the appeal will be forwarded to the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment) (DUSD (I&E)) for a final decision. DUSD (I&E) is the Senior Appeals Authority for all appeals.

Q. If I’m not eligible for HAP benefits, what other options may be available?

A. The Department of Justice (DoJ) National Mortgage Settlement, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Short Sale Assistance for Military Homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans, or the Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development program Making Home Affordable may be other options to consider. Please see the “Other Options” page for details.

Q. Is there a cap on the HAP benefits to be paid?

A. The total benefit calculation is based upon the home purchase price. The benefits for applicants who purchased homes for more than $729,750 will be calculated using $729,750 as the purchase price in accordance with the HAP Final Rule 32 CFR Part 239.4 (h).

Q. If I have to sell my home at a loss and I qualify for HAP benefits, will I be able to recoup 100% of my loss?

A. No, but you may be able to recoup a portion of your losses.

Q. Will my HAP benefits be subject to Federal taxes?

A. No. Public Law 111-92 exempted HAP benefit payments from Federal taxes. However, some states may impose a tax on HAP benefits.

Q. If my home is foreclosed upon, what will the government pay or not pay?

A. In the case of a foreclosure, the benefit is paid directly to the lien holder for any legally enforceable liabilities. Missed payments will not be paid. The government will not pay encumbrances of a personal nature or junior mortgages acquired after acquiring the property unless the junior mortgage was obtained at the same time as the original mortgage or used to finance eligible home improvements. If you deed the property back to the mortgage company in lieu of foreclosure, your application will be processed as a private sale.

Q. Who pays the closing costs?

A. HAP pays those seller’s closing costs customary for the region where the home is located. Seller’s closing costs typically include: loan payoff fees; the real estate commission; title insurance; all or part of transfer taxes and escrow fees, if there are any; attorney’s fees where applicable; and other fees set by local custom. HAP may reimburse the seller for limited contributions made to the buyer’s portion of closing costs, including appraisal cost and realtor fees.

Q. Will I have to bring any money to closing?

A. An applicant may have to bring money to closing to cover mortgage interest and property taxes through the date of closing, homeowners association dues and/or transfer fees (unless required by local law), plus any mortgage principal not covered by HAP (applies to loans that have been refinanced or equity loans or lines of credit taken out after purchase that cannot be traced back with receipts for eligible home improvements). Please check with your lender or settlement agent for items specific to you.

Q. In a private sale, can I use a realtor to sell my home?

A. Yes, you may use a realtor to sell your home. Using a realtor may increase your chances of finding a buyer.

Q. How is a short sale treated when calculating HAP benefits?

A. For HAP, short sales are treated as private sales. If an applicant remains personally liable for a deficiency between the outstanding mortgage and the sale price, that deficiency shall be paid directly to the lender on behalf of the applicant. If the applicant was fully released from liability after a short sale, no benefit shall be paid to either the applicant or the lender.

Q. Will I receive reimbursement for closing costs if I have a short sale?

A. An applicant will only be reimbursed for closing costs that he or she paid out of pocket that are customary for the region where the home is located. Although short sales are treated like private sales, the reimbursement of any closing costs is unlikely because closing costs are typically forgiven by the lender.

Q. Will the government pay real estate commissions when the government purchases an applicant’s home?

A. No, the government will not pay real estate commissions when the government purchases an applicant’s home. Applicants should ensure that the listing agreement for their property contains the following statement: "In the event the herein listed property is sold to the United States of America, or an agency thereof, the listing broker will not be entitled to any commission or other consideration as a result of such sale." If the listing agreement does not contain the above statement and any commission is due, it is the applicant's responsibility to pay the commission. While the commission payment is the responsibility of the applicant, the government will make the commission payment for the applicant when the home is sold by the government to the applicant's buyer contingent upon both the government acquisition and government sale contract transactions being completed and recorded. Commissions will be paid to the broker listing the property. The allocation of dollars to real estate agents will be the responsibility of the listing broker.

Q. Will HAP reimburse for mortgage interest?

A. HAP will not reimburse for mortgage interest.

Q. Should I stop trying to sell my home after applying to HAP?

A. No. A key part of the process is your effort to sell your home at the best possible price. In order to be eligible for the program, an applicant must demonstrate a reasonable effort to sell the home. In addition, the benefits associated with a private sale are generally better than those associated with a government acquisition.

Q. What constitutes a reasonable effort to sell my home?

A. Your primary residence must be listed, actively marketed, and available for purchase for a minimum of 120 days. The applicant must demonstrate that the asking price was within the current market value of the home as determined by USACE for no less than 30 days.

Q. If I rent my home before I sell it, will it impact my HAP benefit?

A. If you are eligible for HAP benefits based upon a wound, injury or illness, your HAP benefit will not be impacted if you rent your home prior to selling. If your HAP eligibility is based upon base realignment and closure, rental income can be deducted from the benefit if you rent your home prior to selling.

Q. If I lease my home, is there any information I should include in the lease concerning HAP?

A. Any lease agreement for your home should contain the following clause: "If the leased premises are approved for purchase by the United States of America under the Homeowners Assistance Program, pursuant to P.L. 89-754 and P.L. 111-5, the Lessor shall have the right to terminate this lease by providing to the Lessee either a 30 or 60-day written notice to vacate the premises."

Q. As an example, if an applicant owns a 60-acre farm and maintains a home on the farm, how much of the property qualifies for HAP benefits?

A. Only the dwelling and the portion of the land that would reasonably constitute a residential property within the area would qualify for HAP benefits.

Q. Do I need any language concerning HAP in a purchase contract with a buyer?

A. Yes, you should include verbiage stating “Contract is contingent upon seller’s eligibility for the Homeowner’s Assistance Program”.

Q. What do I need to submit to substantiate home improvements for benefit payments?

A. The HAP program utilizes IRS Publication 552, "Recordkeeping for Individuals," to substantiate improvement expenditures submitted by applicants for benefit payments. This publication states, "Generally you prove payment with a cash receipt, financial account statement, credit card statement, canceled check, or substitute check. If you make payments in cash, you should get a dated and signed receipt showing the amount and the reason for payment. If you make payments by electronic funds transfer, you may be able to prove payment with an account statement." Pictures, ledgers, affidavits are not acceptable forms for documentation for substantiating home improvements.