The VA offers grants for certain disabled veterans to make an existing or new home accessible. There are basically two different grants: the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant, and the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant.
There is also a Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) Grant which is available to eligible veterans who need to modify a family member's home they are temporarily living in. It follows the same rules as the SAH & SHA grant, but has some limitations.
If you qualify for both grants, you will be limited to the one that pays you the most money.
The SAH grant is available to veterans who have:
- The loss, or loss of use, of both lower extremities which prevents moving without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
- The loss, or loss of use, of one lower extremity plus
- blindness in both eyes or vision limited to only light perception
- residuals of organic disease or injury or the loss or loss of use of one upper extremity which affects balance or movement so much that it prevents movement without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
- The loss, or loss of use, of both upper extremities, which prevents the use of the arms at or above the elbows.
- The permanent and total disability is due to a severe burn injury (as so determined).
The SHA Grant is available to veterans who have:
- Blindness in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less.
- Loss of or loss of use of both hands.
- Certain severe burn injuries.
- Certain severe respiratory injuries
When you are rated for compensation by the VA, they will determine your eligibility to the grants.
Housing Grant Amounts
- For the SHA Grant: An eligible veteran may receive a VA grant of not more than 50 percent of the cost of a specially adapted house, up to the aggregate maximum amount allowable by law. The current maximum grant amount allowable for FY2020 is $18,074.
- For the SAH Grant: An eligible veteran may receive a VA grant of not more than $90,364 for fiscal year 2020.
These amounts are adjusted annually each October 1 based on a cost-of-construction index.
You may receive up to three grants. The total you receive cannot exceed the amounts listed above. Depending on your situation, you could also receive the total maximum amount in one grant.
Modifications That Are Eligible For Grants
Some of the modifications that are covered under these grants include:
- wheelchair or other ramps
- making doorways wider
- making garage or carport wider to allow wheelchair entry into vehicle
- making bathrooms accessible
- making light switches, fuse boxes, and outlets accessible
- replacing or removing carpet to allow wheelchair use
- adding smoke/carbon monoxide detectors that have visual or special audible alarms
- adding a zone controlled HVAC system or generator backup
- adapting a kitchen
Remember, the VA must approve all modifications before they will pay for them!
How To Apply For Benefits
When you are rated by the VA they will also send you a VA Form 26-4555c (Veteran's Supplemental Application for Assistance in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing) to be filled out when you are ready to obtain the grant.
After you complete and return the form, the VA will send you a letter explaining the terms and conditions under which the funds will be made available.
The VA will also provide assistance in determining what types of modifications are necessary, and may even recommend several contractors that can complete the work. However, you can choose any contractor.
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