The Inspector General Report On DoD HAP

As an agent who has had the privilege of successfully completing 35 Northern Virginia military  Department of Defense HAP sales, keeping up with all of the latest information is a daily challenge.  Talking with other agents across the country who also have been working with the HAP program we shared our concerns about the program and some of the inconsistencies we’ve experienced between each of the offices processing DoD HAP files.   Files for our area are processed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Savannah GA.

In case you were wondering how the HAP program originally got funding here is the history:  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocated $555 million and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 authorized an additional $300 million for the Expanded Homeowners Assistance Program (HAP).

Per the report released by the IG office, as of February 23, 2011 the program had paid 4,825 applicants a total of $725.5 million, but had a backlog of 4,897 eligible applicants.  It doesn’t take much to do the math and see that the program will run out of money before all eligible service members will be able to settle on their homes unless additional funding is provided.

The  IG report on DoD HAP provides details on the issues that were found with the program and is open for comments until January 23, 2012.  If you are military service member eligible for DoD HAP benefits or has been denied benefits you should read the report and make comments on your experience with the program.

If you are eligible for DoD HAP benefits and own a home in the Northern Virginia area give me a call at 703-346-2213.   With the time it takes to process files you shouldn’t wait until Spring to get your home on the market.

4 thoughts on “The Inspector General Report On DoD HAP

  1. Cindy,

    I am in the process of buying a home on the east coast and its sale is contingent on HAP approval. We have been in contract for more than thirty five days with no HAP approval, and it appears we are going to need to extend our closing date once again.

    I read on the HAP site (http://hap.usace.army.mil/FAQs.html) that the timeline is 60-90 days. Do you believe this is still accurate, or are shorter time periods possible? Perhaps funding is no longer available?

    We’ve nagged the selling agent for info about where their application is, but she has been less than helpful. We are uncertain if we should continue extending our closing date. We are very tempted to walk away, especially because we aren’t getting any clear information from the seller.

    Do you know of any way that I, as the buyer, can find out where the HAP application is at? We would rather not walk away, but we are unwilling to wait forever for sale approval especially when we feel so left in the dark about it by the selling agent.

    Any advice you can give would be wonderful. Your blog is the most up-to-date info I can find online; its been very helpful.

    -David

    Thanks for the good info above!
    -David

  2. David,

    The HAP process comes in 2 parts. The first is the approval portion and the second is the benefits portion. If the seller has meet the approval portion of the process they should have a letter stating they are “approved” for HAP benefits contingent of financing and been moved to the benefits department.

    Once the file goes to benefits it can be 60-90 days for processing depending on the type of sale and the availability of benefits. Hopefully you can get an update on whether the file has moved from initial processing to the benefits department to get a better understanding of when you might be able to close.

    Cindy

  3. David and Cindy,

    Just a little information I thought would be helpful from the seller perspective. I am in the process of selling my home in Florida through HAP. To say the process has been frustrating would be a gross understatement. We are currently in the “awaiting payment of benefits stage” via government acquisition, and we have been waiting 90 days in this phase for any word. Once we are allocated funding, it will take another 60+ days to close. So our process will likely be in excess of 180 days processing time. That’s IF we ever get funding. We already lost our first buyer because of the delays, and our current buyer is getting impatient.

    Every time we call the benefits department for a status update, we always get the response “we don’t know, and we have no clue or timeline for you.” They won’t even tell us at what point we will be informed that we won’t get benefits funding and need to move on. The HAP benefits agents have zero information on when funding for benefits will come in, USACE Headquarters keeps them completely in the dark. That being said, we were informed 45 days after moving into the benefits phase that they are now relying on recycled funding to pay all benefits. This means that they are out of money, and are relying on return of funds from processed government acquisitions. The program has been terribly mismanaged from day 1, read the IG Audit report and you’ll see why. They’ve spent almost a billion dollars to help less than 5000 applicants. There are more than 5000 applicants waiting at various processing stages. They supposedly process benefits based on PCS date, with the earlier being the priority. We transferred to Florida in December 2005, and left in September 2008–so we are pretty close to the front of the line, and we’ve still been waiting for this long.

    In short, if you’ve only been waiting 35 days, you’re looking at another 4-6 months or longer to close if your seller falls under the PCS HAP category. Possibly never. I’m really sorry to tell you that, but it’s information about the program that needs to start getting out. HAP has done a pretty good job at hiding it.

  4. I am aware that HAP is on “recycled” funds. Which is why I included in my answer the “availiability of funds.”

    Interestingly enough the first time I’ve read HAP is out of money was this week when Holly Petraeus mentioned it in a Stars and Stripes article. I put it out in a Tweet but hadn’t put it on my blog yet.

    Here is the article:

    Under water’ home loans force families apart:

    http://www.stripes.com/news/holly-petraeus-under-water-home-loans-force-families-apart-1.165204

    HAP files are closing though. So at this point I’m not going to say anyone is out luck in getting their sale closed. As you say it depends on the priority of the file. Wounded warriors and surviving spouses take top priority followed by PCS order date.

    Thank you for your perspective on the process. Having closed 35 HAP transactions I’ve felt the major bumps along the way and know it’s not getting any better with recycled funds.

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