Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans
This overview of VA adapted housing grants explains how certain disabled veterans can receive funds to adapt and remodel their homes to live independently.
Grants are available to help certain disabled veterans buy or adapt a home to meet your needs. The program aims to help vets with certain permanent and total service-connected disabilities to live independently in a barrier-free living environment.
To be eligible, veterans first must apply for disability benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Once the VA certifies that your disability is service-connected and assigns a severity rating, you can apply for the grants. Keep in mind the grants are designed generally for vets that are 100% service-connected with certain specific disabilities.
There are two types of grants available, each operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
1. Specially Adapted Housing Grant – The larger grant, called the Specially Adapted Housing Grant, is generally available to vets with loss, or loss of use, of the lower extremities, although other disabilities may also be eligible. For this grant, the vet does need to be an owner, although you can jointly own the home with family or friends.
The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant can be used in one of the following ways:
- Construct a specially adapted home on land to be purchased;
- Build a home on land already owned, if suitable for specially adapted housing
- Remodel an existing home, if can be made suitable for specially adapted housing
- Apply the grant towards unpaid principal mortgage balance of an adapted home already purchased without the assistance of a VA grant.
The maximum dollar amount allowable for SAH grants in fiscal year 2017 is $77,307.
2. Special Housing Adaptation Grant – The smaller grant, called the Special Housing Adaptation Grant, is generally awarded to vets with disabilities involving visible impairment or loss, or loss of use, of both hands, although other disabilities may also be eligible. For this smaller grant, the vet doesn’t need to be an owner of the property, but a family member must be an owner.
The Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant can be used in one of the following ways:
- Adapt an existing home the veteran or family member already owns, in which the veteran lives;
- Adapt a home the veteran or family member intends to buy in which the veteran will live;
- Help a veteran buy a home already adapted in which the veteran will live.
The maximum dollar amount allowable for SHA grants in fiscal year 2017 is $15,462.
Goal is to provide flexible solutions
The VA stresses that these funds are intended to provide flexible solutions to meet veterans’ adjusted daily needs. For the larger SAH grant, examples of improvements include a wide range of ways to remove barriers, which can include widening hallways, and creating indoor and outdoor ramps; bathroom modifications such as better placement of grab bars, shelving, towel rods, and outlets; kitchens can be adapted to include labor-saving devices; and overall safety issues can be fixed such as remodeling floors to prevent slipping. Renovations can also extend to carports, garages and walkways. For a full list of renovations, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the smaller SHA grants, typical adaptations for someone who is visually impaired can include lighting adjustments, and removal of tripping hazards. For veterans who have lost the use of their hands, light switches can be modified to provide access.
Grants to adapt temporary housing owned by family member
Grants for temporary housing adaptations are also available. If a veteran is otherwise eligible for one of the SAH/SHA grants listed above, and is temporarily living in a home owned by a family member, s/he may apply for funds to adapt the home. In this case, SAH grants are available for up to $33,937, and SHA grants for up to $6,059.
How to apply
The application form is VA Form 26-4555, Application in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation Grant. The VA provides several ways to submit the application. You can apply online at www.ebenefits.va.gov; you can download the form here VA Form 26-4555 and mail it to your Regional Loan Center; you can call the VA toll free at 1-800-827-1000 and have a form mailed to you; or you can visit a VA regional office. If you need help or have questions, veterans can email email@example.com or call (877) 827-3702.