Homeowners Assistance Program Helps Military Members Who Lost Money Due to PCS

The Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) protects military members who lost money on their homes due to a PCS move caused by a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). Wounded military members and surviving spouses may also qualify under new provisions of the HAP laws.
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HAP Program Update: The HAP program is no longer accepting applications. We have updated this article as a reference and for historical purposes.

From the HAP website: “Applications must have been postmarked or deposited with the commercial delivery service no later than September 30, 2012. Applications for permanent reassignment can no longer be accepted.”

The military’s Homeowner’s Assistance Program (HAP) has been in place for decades to help homeowners who have trouble selling their homes because of a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) initiative. The latest round of BRAC closures happened to coincide with the recent housing market crisis in America.

A new addition to HAP was added in 2009 as part of the American Economic Recovery Act and includes protection to members of the military who are forced to move because of a permanent change of station or PCS move and lost value on the price of their home. The new plan also covers military members who were separated from military service because they were wounded, injured, or ill. The plan also covers surviving spouses.

Both the old and new versions of the law provide some monetary relief to eligible members of the military and federal employees who suffered a financial loss on the sale of their primary residence when they were not able to sell their homes under reasonable terms or conditions.

Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program

There are two versions of the Homeowners Assistance Program: conventional and expanded. The conventional HAP was established by Congress in 1966. It is only available for members of the military when the services conduct a round of base closures. The HAP is a special relief program that must be approved to start, and then it provides financial assistance to homeowners who are not able to sell their homes under reasonable terms because of an announced closure that adversely affects the real estate market of a local area. The Army Corps of Engineers runs HAP on behalf of all the military branches.

The expanded HAP is exactly like the conventional version, but it has been modified recently to include wounded service members, surviving spouses of military members who are killed in combat, and other members of the military who receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders.

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Who Runs the Homeowners Assistance Program?

The Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and is only open to military members who were permanently reassigned because of a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) during the mortgage crisis. The following information is from the website:

The Department of Defense (DOD) is proud to offer the Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP) to eligible service members and federal civilian, including non-appropriated fund, employees. The program is authorized by law, and administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to assist eligible homeowners who face financial loss when selling their primary residence homes in areas where real estate values have declined because of a base closure or realignment announcement.

There are two main eligibility criteria:

  1. There has to be an announcement of a base closing or realignment action which affects your community.
  2. A determination must be made that real estate values have dropped as a direct result of the base closing or realignment announcement.

Once those criteria are met, there are additional requirements.

DoD HAP Personnel & Property Eligibility Requirements:

The Homeowners Assistance Program has recently been modified to include wounded service members, surviving spouses of military members who die while deployed, and certain other military service members who are required to move more than 50 miles because they receive permanent-change-of-station orders.

HAP Property Eligibility Requirements:

  • PCS orders require relocation of more than 50 miles.
  • Reassignment ordered between 1 February 2006 and 30 September 2012 (or earlier date designated by Secretary of Defense).
  • Property purchased or contract to purchase signed before 1 July 2006.
  • Property sold by owner between 1 July 2006 and 30 September 2012 (or earlier date designated by Secretary of Defense).
  • Property was the owner’s primary residence.
  • Owner has not previously received these benefit payments.

Personnel Eligible for HAP

According to the HAP website, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded the HAP authority to authorize the Secretary of Defense to provide financial aid to the following groups of individuals:

  • BRAC Impacted Personnel
  • Wounded, Injured or Ill, and Surviving Spouses
  • Other Eligible Personnel

BRAC Impacted Personnel

Individuals impacted by the BRAC program may be eligible. This includes both civilian employees or members of the Armed Forces who were:

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

Wounded, Injured or Ill, and Surviving Spouses

1) Members of the Armed Forces (30% or greater disability) who incur a wound, injury, or illness in the line of duty during a deployment in support of the Armed Forces on or after September 11, 2001;  

2) Wounded DoD and Coast Guard civilian homeowners reassigned in furtherance of medical treatment or rehabilitation or due to medical retirement in connection with a disability incurred in the performance of his or her duties during a forward deployment occurring on or after September 11, 2001, in support of the Armed Forces; and

3) Surviving spouses of fallen warriors who move within two years of the death of such employee or member.

Other Eligible Personnel:

  • Personnel transferred or terminated within six months prior to the announcement who were owner-occupants at the time of transfer.
  • Civilian and military personnel on overseas tours who transferred within three years prior to the announcement and who are homeowners in the area.

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How to File a Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program claim

If you are a military member who is PCSing or has PCSed during the window of eligibility, you will need to download the application packet and complete the application, DD Form 1607, Application for Homeowners Assistance Program. The basic application is made in Part III. You will need to get your personnel officer to complete Section IV.

Supporting documents. You will also need to include verification of homeownership, the dates you lived in the home, a copy of your PCS orders, the efforts you made to sell your home and whether or not it sold, and the details of your mortgage.

You must submit your completed application by mail to the US Army Corps of Engineers district where your home is located. For more information about the district lines, visit the USACE contact page.

Is The Military Homeowner’s Assistance Program Taxable?

As mentioned above, there are two classifications of the Military Homeowners Assistance Program: homes that fall under the Conventional HAP, and the Expanded HAP.

Conventional Homeowner’s Assistance Program Is Taxable

The conventional HAP benefits payments are taxable. Members of the military owe taxes on support they receive when the support is above 95% of the prior fair market value (PFMV) of his or her home. For more information on the Conventional Homeowner’s Assistance Program, you should view the HAP website and the Army Corps of Engineers’ FAQ page.

Expanded Homeowner’s Assistance Program Is Not Taxable

Originally, the Expanded Homeowner’s Assistance Program and specifically the PCS clause was not tax-exempt. President Obama signed HR 3548 which is the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009. He signed the bill into law which also included a new exception for Expanded HAP benefit payments from federal taxes. Payments to military members are also not subject to social security or Medicare taxes.

Although HAP is exempt from Federal taxes, there may be state taxes that military members may have to pay. Applicants who had taxes withheld prior to the President signing the law change should receive a W2c which is a corrected Wage and Tax Statement from the Internal Revenue Service.

Check with Your Tax Professional for Further Clarification

As with any complicated tax situation, HAP applicants should seek legal and tax assistance if there are any specific questions about the tax implications of HAP benefit payments. HAP is a viable option for members of the Armed Forces who have had trouble selling their homes during the housing crisis or any other BRAC situation.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Tee says

    My ex husband (DOD employee)and I purchased the home in 2001 that I’m currently in. We divorced in 2018. He took an assignment(9/2018) in Hawaii were her remarried. I’m not sure if he’s staying in Maryland (works at Fort Meade) or if he’s moving to another state where current wife lives. He due to return July 2021. Through court ordered we are to sell the home in July 2022. Do we qualify for the program?

  2. Maria says

    This is a hard time for all of us. My family is under a lot of stress. We own a home that we purchased August 2009, for $215,000 (and it appraised!) when all other homes in the area were selling for over 30 thousand less. We were living overseas and hadn’t realized how hard the housing market had gotten. So, I guess I can say we went in with our eyes closed. Now, we will be transferring on PCS orders over thirty hours away (driving) and we are left with the dilema of trying to break even (which can’t happen). We can’t really afford to rent with all of the costs involved, will have a hard time renting ourselves because of our animals and do not have any idea what we are going to do. My husband has been stationed here on special duty orders which has made it hard on us since he is never around and now he will be stationed on a ship so we’ll hardly see him. We’ve thought about just staying in the home without him, but my kids don’t want to have daddy so far away again! Don’t know what to do. It is so hard when you try so hard to be good citizens, pay all your notes on time, have great credit and are forced to make decisions that can destroy a life time of good standing. May God help us!

  3. Dennis says

    So… not eligible for the HAP program. How hard is it to short sale with PCS orders as a forced harship even though you’re current on payments? Who pays realator fees in a short sale? How does the benefits under the National Mortgage Settlement apply for military members forced to move and do not qualify for benefits under HAP?

  4. Christopher Nugent says

    Should I apply for the EHAP Program?
    I just found about this program and I am wondering if I might qualify?
    My Specifics
    2001 Bought Home while stationed in Illinois
    2004 Dec Transfered on order to oversears Spain duty station. spoke with realestate agents house would not sell for what I owed.
    2007 Dec Transfered on orders to Hawaii.
    2007 tried to sell the house was to far upside down.
    2009 short sold the home had no choice no renter could not afford it anymore. First morgage shows as closed on credit report 2nd mortgage shows outstanding balance on credit report. At forclosure time I was forced to take a 30K promissary note for 0% interest I have been paying on since.
    July 2011 Retired from military.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Christopher, I believe this program is for people who were forced to sell their home at a loss due to a base closure. If this applies in your situation, then I recommend contacting the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). If this does not apply to you, then you may not be eligible for the program. The USACE will be the best source for information specific to your case.

  5. Jim says

    I recently completed a EHAP sale on a rental home which initially was my primary. I closed in Dec 2011 using the Private Sale method and received the EHAP benefit in Jan 2012. Now doing 2011 taxes and am trying to determine how to claim HAP on the sale because I took a $50K loss on home without their assistance. If I report that loss, I believe I am “double-dipping” because I did receive assistance. Any guidance on how to report/claim the assistance as part of the sale? Is it necessary? The assistance will not be reported anywhere on my 2012 tax documents (W2, 1099S…) because it is non-taxable income, falls under “Fringe Benefit.” I have consulted with CPAs and the IRS with no definitive answer. Thanks.

  6. Patrick says

    I have a question. I left Active duty in FL to Palace Front to the MI ANG. I moved from FL to MI leaving the family behind. The house in FL has still not sold and it’s begining to make life harder for myself and my family. Could this program help me. I am a full time ANG at the GS level. Just wondering if there was a program to help me out. Thank you for your time.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Patrick, The program has very specific rules and eligibility requirements, with the prime reason being a Base Realignment or Closure. If that happened in your area, then you should contact the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to see if you are eligible. There may also be programs which may benefit you – there are several at the state and/or national level. However, these are also on a case by case basis, and I am not an expert in this area. You may try contacting a real estate agent or lawyer who specializes in real estate in your area, as they may be more familiar with the new rules or programs that are available.

  7. Paulette Parker -- Realtor--Keller Williams says

    I am a full time Realtor in the Savannah, Georgia area that has worked as a Realty Specialist within the USACE Homeowners Assistance Program in the Savannah District. (the east coast)

    While working in the HAP program I could not assist applicants on the real estate side of the transaction. I have left that position so that I can help military personnel work through the program and receive the best benefit for them while it is still funded.

    If there is anyone in the Savannah, Georgia (Fort Stewart and/or Hunter Army Airfield) that has questions concerning the HAP program I am currently looking for HAP listings–I know this program and can help determine what portion of the program would work best for you.

    Within the Expanded HAP program there are several benefit types: Government Acquisition, Private Sale Augmentation, Privates Sale, Private Sale Short Sale and Foreclosure.

    Each file is different and there is not a benefit paid on any portion of the mortgage was was obtained after the purchase unless it is documented with receipts and invoices per the IRS guidelines. The portion of the mortgage that is covered has to be part of purchase funds or home improvements….not repairs.

    There is a possible benefit for military personnel that retire if retirement is based on the end of career–ie: 30 years and you can not reenlist another term. The typical 20 year voluntary retirement is not usually eligible for the program.

    The July 1, 2006 date was determined by a 20 city study that showed when the market started to fall.

    There are two types of HAP–traditional an expanded.

    I hope that this information helps answer some of the questions. I would also suggest that you read the written law –it can be located on the U S Army Corps of Engineers HAP web site.

  8. Pillarr1 says

    I have a HAP question regarding the primary residence requirement for BRAC HAP applicants. We bought our house is 2001. Lived in it from 2001 to July 2005, when we by orders dated Dec. 2004, PCSd to Ft. Belvoir from Ft. McPherson . We were owner/occupants on the BRAC announcement date of May 13, 2005. We PCSd back to Ft. McPherson in April, 2008. We did not move back into the house that we own and lived in from 2001 to July 2005. With orders dated July 25, 2010, we will be moving to Ft. Bragg because my command (at Ft. McPherson) will be relocating to Ft. Bragg in the BRAC.

    We applied to the Savannah office for HAP assistance and we were denied. First, they said we were not “assigned to a BRAC installation on May 13, 2005.” I am baffled by this finding because we lived in the house and I worked at Ft. McPherson until July, 2005. I did not sign into my new command at Ft. Belvoir until July 25, 2005. The second reason they denied us was because the home is not considered our primary residence. Does anyone know at what point you have to live in the house? We lived there for 4 years. When we PCSd back to Ft. McPherson, it was rented out so we could not move back into it.. The law states that for BRAC applicants, they had to have been the owner-occupant of the house on the date of the BRAC announcement, May 13, 2005 – we meet this criteria.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Pillarr1, Unfortunately, I’m not too well versed in the intricacies of this program – it is fairly complicated because of all the dates, rules, and stipulations.

      My recommendation is to gather every supporting document you can find for your property and create a timeline supported by those documents. Then go back with everything in a clearly labeled format and walk them through it line by line. Many times claims get declined because they seem complicated on the surface, and a complicated situation added to a complicated program makes it twice as difficult for the approving agency. The easier you make it on them, the more likely your odds of having your application approved. Sorry I couldn’t add more specific advice.

  9. SFC Marshall Brown says

    In need of some awesome guidance. I just recently bought a house in March 2010 under the Stimulus Program. I just found out that when I return from Afghanistan I will be PCSing. I understand there is a 3 year timeline for owners to be in the house. Are there any military clauses or other avenues to follow with0ut being penalized?

  10. SGT Murray Griffin says

    Hi, i have a home near ft drum, ny where i was stationed but i am being reassigned to ft carson and i dont see how i can afford two homes. Also i was told i cant sell because i recieved the $7000 on my taxes for the first time home buyers loan, so you cant sell or rent the property for three years. I am just looking for some advice or ideas for what i could do. If anybody can help me out i would sure appreciate it. thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      The tax credit complicates things because there are rules regarding who was eligible to receive the credit and under which circumstances it would be given. It may be possible to sell or rent your property out, but doing so may mean you have to give back the tax credit. I’m not 100% certain of the rules, and I recommend visiting with a tax professional or real estate lawyer who can help you better understand your options.

  11. Tracy says

    Am I correct in saying that the program will pay either 90% or 95%, depending on your catagory, of the PMV and you are responsible for the other percentage? Thanks.

  12. Trina says

    Yes I am in the same situation. We purchased our home in 2007 and now we the family have to relocate to Maryland. We can’t afford a mortgage and rent,please help

  13. Nancy Paul says

    We sold our home via short sale in CA. WHile not personally liable for the difference between the mortgage amount and sale price, we still lost our $100,000 down payment. We satisfied all other criteria under the old HAP rules except the purchase price limit of $557,500. Now under the new rules the limit is $729,750 so we could re-apply and appeal that decision. However, it also now looks like under the new rules if a seller is fully released from liability after a short sale, no benefit will be paid. Am I correct or can we apply to get our down payment back. Thanks

  14. tara says

    i have a question, i am TRYING to purchase a home from a family that was re assigned and we are offering what they asked , but now we are having to wait for them to be HAP approved and the relocation company to approve it has taken so much time that we are now looking at other homes , how long does it take for you guys to approve a sale of a home if we are willing to give the listing price?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Tara, I’m sorry, I don’t have an answer for you. I think it may be similar to attempting to buy a short sale – you can only make a purchase when the bank decides to go through with it. It sounds like the decision is in a 3rd party’s hands and not the people who are trying to sell their home.

  15. Abby says

    Good morning,
    I am due to PCS at the end of the year and I have a house which I was unable to sell due to current market. I applied for the HAP last December and met all the requirements except for that my orders were not cut yet. When I received my orders I immediately sent it to the HAP office only to be told that my application is DENIED because the other was cut after September 30.
    I am due to PCS like I said, I need help selling this house and there is a program out there that can help but am being purnished because the Navy did not cut the orders on time (which the detailer told me they have to wait until after the new fiscal year to cut orders). Can someone please help and give me an answer as to what to do.
    I can’t due a short sale that’s going to after my credits for the next two years or so… I have to move my family when I PCS and I can’t afford to keep paying this mortgage and pay another one where am PCSing to.
    The HAP told me that they are yet to receive anyword on extension of the deadline program but something needs to happen because with the current economy state I would have never move if it wasn’t for the call of duty that’s demanding me to.
    What should I do. Please HELP!

    Thank you very much for your time and effort.

  16. Christy says

    My husband and I have applied and been approved for the hap program but it takes so long to get the paperwork done that we keep losing our buyers. It has been 1 year since we started this process and we just found out that we lost another buyer. Now I am trying hard not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but this if ridiculous. I am going to start writing senators and congressmen very soon. In fact today. The financial hardship this has created is getting worse and worse. Where are we supposed to go for help when the ones supposed to be helping us are F-ing us around

  17. Richard Pope says

    It is not whining! Obviously the author is uninformed and probably ignorant of the facts. The fact is military personnel are ordered to different stations (locations) based on the needs of the Armed Forces, not their personal desires. Real estate markets ups and downs and unpredictable as previously events have shown. Our men and women and their families serving our country’s call to arms should not have to take financial lost due to being involuntarily being transferred to another location.

  18. POed says

    of course, this does not help us. Why, because we are doing the right thing and PCSing every three years. Now we are potentially stuck with a house in the unemployment capital of the Nation (thank you Recruiting duty). HAP won’t help us, the mortgage company won’t help us, Hope won’t help us, Family resources avoids us. It is fabulous. Congress needs to change the date. The only thing this date is good for is helping those that deployment dodge. Seriously!

  19. Dave says


    The Sacramento office numbers 916-557-6850 and 800-811-5532 have been “busy or after work hours” for at least two weeks with a full voicemail inbox. I have not received a reply from the [email protected] address but I was able to reach a knowledgable person at the Fort Worth office. What’s up with Sacramento?


  20. Ross says

    I live in Yuba City CA, I bought my home for 300,000 in February 2007 and now I am faced with a PCS to Texas in June. My house is now worth 195,000 dollars, a HUGE loss! I can’t even get near my mortgage payment by renting out, about a 800 dollar loss a month. On top of that I lose my tax incentive of paying interest only on my loan since I am getting “extra income” I am 6 months short of making the cut off? That seems a little unfair the market didn’t really crash until the summer of 2007. I don’t know what to do.

    Any help or suggestions from anyone would be great!

  21. Hoang says

    We are on the same boat then.My husband and I have to move to Ill in June , and we bought our house back in May 2007. I called HAP for help , the reply was ” sorry we could not help you” . What should we do ? Plz helppppppppppp

  22. Melissa says

    We are in a similar situation. We bought our home in Tampa, Fl in March 2007. We tried to stay here for another tour so we could save our home, but was denied. We have orders to DC in August. What do we do with our home? We won’t be able to rent it for what our mortgage is and we certainily can’t sell it ($50,000 loss). The Hap program does not apply for us. Where can we go for help. Is our only option a short sale?

    • Ryan says

      Melissa, I recommend trying to work with your lender. You are a few months out, so they may try to work with you to avoid a foreclosure or short sale. It may be possible to rework the loan or rework the terms to make the payments more affordable. I know that doesn’t solve the problem, but it may help, and lowering the monthly payments may make them low enough that you will be able to afford to rent out your home either for cost, or at a small monthly loss. It’s not a perfect solution, but it may be feasible. Beyond that I am not sure your options. I wish you the best.

  23. Trisha says

    Please help me out… I am confused on if I qualify. I purchased my home in Nov 2007 and just received PCS orders for one year and I will receive a new set one year later to who knows where.. I live in the DC area and we have been hit really hard and a loss of over 80K on homes. BRAC is bringing folks to the area but I know the new changes state you don’t have to be affected by BRAC to qualify. Please help me out.

    • Ryan says

      Trisha, I recommend contacting the folks that run the program. There are many varying factors that could make you eligible or ineligible for this program. The people running the program will be able to give you the best information based on your situation.

  24. Charles says

    Ryan and all who say this program is for BRAC only. Please read the FAQ page and Expanded HAP rules. It applies to all personnel who are required to PCS beyound 50 miles and who purchased a home on or before 1 Jun 2006.

  25. jose says

    So, if I purchased my home after 2006 I do not qualify for this program?

    I just receive my assignment in January 2010 and have to report on April 2010.

    Because I am on assignment to the eastcoast, over 1900 miles away from my home. What does this mean in terms of my situation. I would hope my home sell prior because renting is not an option.

  26. Ron says


    Was wondering if the Home Assistance Program will help me? I was active duty Guard when I bought my home in Panama City, Florida…bought around June 2006. I retired June 2009 and couldn’t get job locally so relocated to Navarre, Florida about 2 hours away…great move job wise but I couldn’t get nowhere near for rent what my mortgage payment is. Had renter for about 8 months but now am looking for another renter. Obviously we bought at the high-end of the market boom but now can’t sell the house without losing at lease $50k. Any info would be most appreciated!


    • Ryan says

      Ron, Based on my understanding, this program is designed for people who were required to move due to a PCS. You can check out the HAP site for more information, or to contact a rep who can assist you with your specific case. Best of luck.

  27. Jim says

    Kevin…Where did you see that the house must be sold by 1 May 2010? I don’t see this in any info. I only saw Sep 30 2012.

  28. Kevin says

    President Obama signed (HR 3548, Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009) into law and thereby exempted Expanded HAP benefit payments from taxation. Applicants who received benefits and had taxes withheld, may apply for refunds from the Internal Revenue Service when they submit their tax returns.


  29. Arveta says

    Thanks for the post Kevin that is great news about the tax exemption. We are in the same boat as many. We have split our family because of our PCS move this summer. Don’t want to jepordize our good credit, so we jepordize the family unit with the hubby and son in FL and the wifey and daughter in AZ in order to now maintain two households without depleting savings. Our HAP paperwork was submitted in April 09 only for them to add more items to our list to submit. As of Sep all papework was submitted to their liking and a phone call to acknowledge their receipt. Has anyone been assigned any type of HAP number? Just curious.

  30. Kevin says


    Geart news! On October 8, the House of Representatives, by a vote of 416-0, approved H.R.3590, the “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.” The bill heads to the Senate for its consideration.

    The bill would make the following changes to improve how the homebuyer credit and Homeowner’s Assistance Program (HAP) provisions apply to service members (i.e., members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service, and intelligence employees):

    * The tax credit claimed on qualifying first-time home purchases in 2009 must be recaptured if the home is sold (or ceased to be used as a principal residence) within three years of the purchase. A more restrictive recapture rule applies to qualifying first-home purchases in 2008. Sec. 2(a) of the bill would amend Code Sec. 36(f)(4) to provide that the first-time homebuyer credit does not need to be paid back if after Dec. 31, 2008, the home is sold (or stops being used as a principal residence) by a member of the uniformed services, a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, or an employee of the intelligence community, in connection with a government order for qualified official extended duty.
    * The first-time homebuyer credit won’t be available for purchases after Nov. 30, 2009 (unless Congress extends this tax break). Sec. 3(a) of H.R. 3590 would amend Code Sec. 36(h) to provide those serving on qualified official extended duty service outside of the U.S. for at least 90 days in calendar year 2009 with an additional year (until Nov. 30, 2010) to buy a principal residence and be eligible for the first-time homebuyer credit (if otherwise qualified). Additionally, those buying a home after 2009 but before July 1, 2010 under the change would be able to elect to treat the home as bought on Dec. 31, 2009, in order to claim the credit on the 2009 return.
    * Sec. 4(a) of the bill would amend Code Sec. 132(n) to ensure that certain payments under HAP are exempt from tax. This would apply to HAP payments made after Feb. 17, 2009, to (1) wounded members (and their spouses) of the Armed Forces, Department of Defense, or the United States Coast Guard and (2) members of the Armed Forces that bought a home before July 1, 2006 and are subsequently permanently reassigned between July 1, 2006 and Sept. 30, 2012.

  31. Kevin says


    I just received a notice that HAP guidance has been finalized. Below is the verbiage from the email. Best of luck to all.



    It is my pleasure to announce to you that the HAP program has officially started as of this morning. As I’m sure you can imagine, we are busy trying to initiate the program, and would appreciate it if you could review all the new information posted on the website (http://hap.usace.army.mil ) before trying to give us a call. We hope to be able to notify all of you via mail by the end of October of your eligibility status. Again, we will notify you as quickly as we possibly can.

    Please read the below information regarding your tax liabilities:

    “Section 1001 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (ARRA) expanded the categories of eligible beneficiaries of the Homeowner’s Assistance Program (42 U.S.C. § 3374) to include wounded, injured and ill, surviving spouses, and military members required to relocate during the mortgage foreclosure and credit crisis, and personnel impacted by the BRAC 05 announcement. Because section 132 of the Internal Revenue Code was not amended at that time, these formerly marginally taxable payments became very taxable. The requirement to withhold taxes on these payments prevents this program from successfully assisting needy individuals and those whom this program specifically intended to help.

    “The House Ways and Means Committee introduced legislation to revise the Internal Revenue Code to make ARRA expanded HAP payments nontaxable. Just when this bill will be signed into law is unknown.

    “Unless or until this bill is signed into law, current tax law requires USACE to withhold Federal income tax from HAP benefit and reimbursement payments amounts above applicant homes’ current fair market value prior to disbursing payments to applicants or lending institutions.

    “Districts must, early in the application process, ensure applicants are aware of this tax liability and the Congress’ intention to change it. Additionally, applicants must be advised that state and local taxes may be due on HAP benefits as well as the Federal taxes withheld.”

    We, at USACE, strongly recommend that you consult with a financial and/or tax advisor so that you will fully understand your tax liability prior to receiving HAP benefits. If you need this assistance, you can contact the Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, and representatives will be able to refer you to a tax/financial advisor in your local area.

  32. Kevin says

    The program will be expanded to include those that PCS’d and not just those that PCS’d as a result of Brac. Please contact the HAP office in Sacramento 916-557-6850 or 800-811-5532. They should be able to answer all of your questions.


  33. mae says

    Hi! I own a property in San Diego, Ca and is doing a short sale due to a PCS move. On the article, only military members who were permanently reassigned because of a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) during the mortgage crisis are qualified. Does that mean that we do not qualify? After all, we are forced to do sell our home because we could not find a renter who would rent it for the same price as our mortgage. And having only one income, it is impossible for us to keep our home and rent at the same time in a state where we got relocated.

    • Ryan says

      Mae, based on my understanding, the program is only open to those who are moving due to a BRAC in their area. I recommend contacting the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for information specific to your case. It can’t hurt to get additional information.

      Best of luck, and thanks for serving!

  34. Kevin says

    I sent an email to HQ USAF/A7CAH yesterday. It looks like it will be at least another 60 days before HAP will be able to start processing applications based on the fact that OMB will take another 30 days and then another 30 days on the Federal Register. Wish I had better news, but bad news is better than no news at all. Anyways, here is the response “OSD and HQ Army is aggressively working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to finalize the “rulemaking” and publish in the Federal Register as soon as possible. There are a few issues still being resolved to include income tax liability and full reimbursement for mortgages that are higher than current value of the property. OSD informs they anticipate resolution within the next 30 days. Please be assured, AF leadership is aware of the delays in the implementation and keeping a watch on the progress. Also, the Army Corps of Engineers is position for speedy approval of benefits by already reviewing the applications submitted to date.”

  35. Kevin says

    I submitted my application, with all of the requested information, to HAP in April and have waited patiently for the final guidance to be developed. At this time, the final guidance is being held up in the Office of Management and Budget and they have 90 days to review. I have been told that it has been in that office since late-July.
    Like many of you, I continue to make payments on a house that sits empty and has lost approximately 40% of its value while I rent a house at my new duty assignment. I cannot rent the house I own because the house must be sold by 1 May 2010 per HAP guidance. I cannot sell at this point, even though I have a contract to sell the house, because I do not have the $155K to bring to the closing.
    Well, my patience has worn thin and it is time for all of us to take action. I encourage all of you to begin a letter writing program to your Congressman and state Senators. You can also contact the Office of Management and Budget.
    We volunteer to sacrifice our lives for this country, but are treated like second-class citizens as evidenced by the speed with which the Cash for Clunkers program was developed and funded. Please contact your Congressman and Senators.

    If you were stationed at Ryan AFB, you can contact Congressman Bill Posey through the attached website or can contact his aide at [email protected] . http://posey.house.gov/


  36. Larry says

    what does the below new addition mean?

    “certain other military service members who are required to move more than 50 miles because they receive permanent change-of-station orders”

    does this alleviate the BRAC requirement or does there still need to be a BRAC action?

    • Ryan says

      Larry, So far as I am aware, the complete requirements haven’t been 100% solidified. My best recommendation is to contact the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for more information.

  37. John says

    I am retiring from the military soon. Have owned a home in San Diego since 2003, but due to the housing/mortgage crisis cannot currently sell for what is owed. My home of record is Oregon. Is relocating to one’s home of record considered to be a PCS move and if so would that make one eligible for this relief program? I may have to relocate to find suitable employment. Thank you.

    • Ryan says

      John, I am not sure if relocating after separation from the military qualifies, but even if it did, you would still need to meet the first criteria – moving due to a base closure from BRAC.

  38. Richard says

    Can this program be applied to members who are separating from the military who need to move to find employment elsewhere?

  39. Crystal says

    I agree with Dawn. I mean we closed on our house in Oct. of ’06 and had to purchase the house due to being on a specail duty assignment without a base close by. We have now received our new orders to PCS to a base over 16 hours away and are in great fear of not being able to sell our house or get near what the current payoff is. Do you have any advice?

    • Ryan says

      Hello Crystal, This program was designed to “assist eligible homeowners who face financial loss when selling their primary residence homes in areas where real estate values have declined because of a base closure or realignment announcement.” The only advice I have is to contact the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for more information.

  40. dawn says

    What I dont understand is why this program is only for people who owned the homes prior to 2006? I mean what am I missing here?

  41. Arnel Acosta says

    I’m a servicemember and has a property in Hawaii which I owned since Feb 2005. In June 2008, I got reassigned to Japan on a dependents-accompanied tour; while I have a temporary renter, I consider the house as my primary residence since family and I plan to retire in Hawaii as keep it for retirement.

    When I applied to refinance my current 5/1 ARM to change it to a FIXED loan, I was disqualifed for the home mortgage application—was told that I can qualify only for investment property loan. I found this absurd!

    Is there anything in the Stimulus Plan that covers this topic? How about Servicemember Relief Act? or Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act?

    Military reassignment to overseas location has put my family and I in an awkward situation…is there a relief for this?

    • Ryan says

      Hello Arnel,

      I don’t know what your options are, but I recommend contacting the agency in charge of this program. However, it is important to note that this program was designed to “assist eligible homeowners who face financial loss when selling their primary residence homes in areas where real estate values have declined because of a base closure or realignment announcement.

      If you base was not involved in a BRAC situation, then there may not be anything that can be done.

      Best of luck.

    • michelle says

      Absolutely concur. Unbelievable that when we try to do the right thing; by attempting to refinance into a fixed rate, reliable loan, we are told we have to pay the same rates as those people who make a living off of real estate and who contributed to this mess! Military families don’t have a choice regarding whether we move or not and the bank does not care that this is our primary home (or will be for the future). They only want to obtain the highest rates, but military families who only wish to have a home to live in once they retire-same as civilians- are treated as a financial “risk”. I am aghast that this is legal. Why should we have to pay more than anyone else when this is our only home? We are trying other lenders so hopefully we will get a fair rate, but after reading your experience as well, I have my doubts. So what do we do? Wait for the reset and hope rates don’t go up to 15% in the future, or let the banks have there way and make extra money without taking on the extra risk by paying the additional 1% in interest they demand?

  42. Robert Sebaste says

    Both the DOD website and the application form clearly state that eligibility is limited to those who can demonstrate loss of home values DUE TO MILITARY BASE CLOSURES ONLY! There is nothing that suggests help due to ‘the current economic crisis.’

    • Ryan says

      Robert: Thank you for the additional information. This program has undergone several changes since it was first announced and I have updated it to reflect current information. Thanks for stopping by and pointing out the inaccuracy.

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