Page Reviewed / Updated - Apr. 2015
The Department of Veterans' Affairs provides 3 types of grants for veterans to enable them to make home modifications to accommodate for disabilities connected to their military service or for disabilities resulting from aging. These are the Home Improvement and Structural Alteration or HISA Grant, the Specially Adapted Housing or SAH Grant and the Special Home Adaptation or SHA Grant. Of these 3 grants, the HISA Grant is the most appropriate for the elderly because the grant is not limited to those individuals with service-connected disabilities.
HISA Grants offer financial resources to disabled veterans to make modifications to their homes to improve access, mobility and in particular to facilitate use of the lavatory facilities. The veteran’s disability does not have to be related to their military service. However, those whose disability is service-connected are eligible for a higher grant amount.
Veterans must have a doctor’s prescription that states the diagnosis and the medical reason for needing the home modification. The veteran does not necessarily need to own the home in which the modification is being made provided they have the permission of the homeowner.
In 2015, the maximum HISA benefit limit for veterans whose disability is not related to their military service is $2,000. For veterans with service-connected disabilities that limit is $6,800. This limit was last adjusted in 2010.
An application for HISA grant is available for download here. Veterans must have a medical prescription stating the need as well as bids from 3 contractors for the cost of the work. One can receive quotes for bathroom modifications from multiple contractors by completing this short form. More information is available from the VA here.
SAH Grants, also referred to as 2101(a) Grants, provide financial resources to veterans for home modifications to make their place of residence wheelchair accessible. However, unlike the HISA Grant, this assistance is available only to veterans with service connected disabilities that include the loss or loss of function in at least one of their legs.
As this grant is for service related disabilities only, most elderly veterans are not eligible. However, there is no time limit therefore some individuals may be eligible if they have a disability related to their military service that has become progressively worse with age and eventually required them to use a wheelchair.
Veterans must have a service related disability that results in the loss of function in at least one leg. More detailed disability requirements are available from the VA here.
The maximum allowable limit for 2015 is $70,465. This figure is adjusted annually based on a cost of construction index.
SHA Grants, also known as 2101(b) Grants, are provided to disabled veterans to make home modifications necessary to allow them to continue to live independently despite blindness or the loss of use of their hands resulting from an injury sustained during their military service.
Veterans must be blind in both eyes or have lost the use of both hands or have lost function due to a burn.
The maximum SHA grant benefit amount for 2015 is $14,093.
Veterans can apply at any VA office. More information can be found in this VA pamphlet.
Veterans should be aware that there is also assistance for veterans in the form of Veterans-Directed Home and Community Based Services and the Aid and Attendance Program.