The question frequently comes up as to how to pay for accessibility modifications, especially more major ones like a fully adapted bathroom or kitchen. Unfortunately, other than long term care insurance and personal savings there’s little out there today to help defray the cost of renovating a home in order to create a barrier free environment.
There is, however, money available for Veterans. Veterans or service members who have specific service-connected disabilities may be entitled to a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the purpose of constructing a barrier free home or modifying an existing home to meet their special needs.
The Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH), or a 2010(a) grant, is intended for disabled veterans. The goal of the SAH Program is to provide a living environment that affords the veterans or service members a level of independent living he or she may not normally enjoy.
The grant is meant to offset the cost of specially adapted housing and offers up to half of the cost of the purchase, construction, or renovation of the house to a maximum amount of $50,000. If the maximum grant is not used all at once, a second grant can be obtained for future adaptive modifications. For example, if the total cost of adapting a home is $80,000, the maximum grant would be for 50% of the $80,000 or $40,000. The veteran could, at a later date, claim another grant of $10,000 for the repair of the adaptations done originally, or for the installation of additional adaptations, or towards the purchase, construction, or adaptation of another home.
According to VA requirements, those eligible for the grant are those entitled to or currently receiving VA compensation for what the Department of Veteran Affairs defines as permanent and total service connected disability. Eligibility must first be determined before an application for the Grant can be made. Some of the requirements in determining eligibility include:
1. It must be medically feasible for the veteran or service member to reside in the
2. The house must be adapted to be suitable to the veteran’s needs for living purposes.
3. It must be financially feasible for the veteran to acquire the house with the
assistance provided by the Grant.
The types of adaptations covered include ramps, lifts, widened doorways and hallways, expanding garages and carports to allow for wheelchair maneuverability, accessible bathrooms, adjusting placement of wall switches and electrical outlets, windows that are operable from a wheelchair, automatically operated entry and garage doors, kitchen adaptations, modifying exterior walkways and entrances.
The following are pictures of projects completed under the SAH grant program.
Modified Kitchen with new cabinets,
counters, flooring and window
Fully adapted bathroom
The Special Housing Adaptations (SHA) program, or 2101(b) grant, provides the actual cost to the veteran of certain adaptations and/or equipment, not to exceed a maximum grant of $10,000. The home to be adapted must be owned by the veteran or by a member of the veteran's family, and the veteran must intend to continue residing there.
Types of renovations covered depend on the specific disability and include special lighting, sliding doors, handrails, grab bars, smoke detectors, security systems, exterior doors and locks, concrete or asphalt walkways, fencing, porches, awnings, additional electrical, lever faucets, lowered cabinets, rocker light switches and other adaptations with the approval of the VA.
Here are a couple of pictures of projects completed under the SHA program.
Bermed walkway and front porch
Enlarged doorway and pocket door
The Temporary Residence Adaptations (TRA) program provides adaptation assistance to veterans who are residing, but do not intend to permanently reside, in the a residence owned by a family member. If a veteran is otherwise eligible for SAH, the assistance is limited to $14,000. If a veteran is otherwise eligible for SHA, the assistance is limited to $2,000.
SAH and SHA grants may be used up to three times, as long as the aggregate grant amount does not exceed the statutory dollar limitation. TRA grants may only be used once (and count as a grant usage for purposes of the limit of three), and the amount of assistance provided will be subtracted from the veteran's available statutory maximum.