Page Reviewed / Updated - Feb. 2014
This USDA Rural Development program provides loans and grants to low-income, rural homeowners which can be used to make home modifications for elderly or disabled residents to improve safety and remove health hazards. This includes such projects as remodeling a bathroom to allow wheelchair access and / or walk in bath-tubs, construction of a wheelchair ramps and widening of doorways or hallways to permit easier access. Both grants and loans are available, however grants are only given to those who are considered unable to repay a loan.
There are geographic and age requirements to participate in the USDA Rural Development Grant program. Homeowners must be at least 62 years of age and live in rural areas of the country. Typically a rural area is defined as having a population of less than 10,000 persons. For a state by state and county by county list of eligible areas, visit this website.
There are also income limits. Individuals must have income at such a level that they are unable to obtain loans from other organizations. Typically this is defined as an annual income of less than 50% of the median income for the area. For a state by state and county by county income limits, visit this webpage.
The maximum USDA Rural Development Grant amount is $7,500. There is a requirement that states the grant must only be used repairs and improvements for the health and safety of the occupants. In addition, if the home is sold within 3 years of receiving the grant, then the USDA can collect repayment from grantee’s home sale proceeds.
The maximum loan amount is $20,000 with a repayment period of up to 20 years. Loans and grants to a single applicant can be combined allowing for the maximum assistance of $27,500.