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Military and Veterans
Special Housing Grants for Veterans with Disabilities

The Veterans Administration provides grants to veterans with disabilities who need accommodations in their home. You must be a veteran with a service-related, permanent disability to qualify. You can ask for a grant to buy or build an accessible home, or to make changes to your existing home. A diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) meets the medical requirements for one of these housing grants. More information is available on the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs website. This article covers three types of grants.

Specially Adapted Housing

The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant provides up to $67,555 for eligible veterans who own their primary residence. You can also put money from SAH grants towards the purchase of a home that is specially adapted to your disability. You qualify if you have any of the following medical conditions:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Loss of or loss of use of both legs
  • Loss of or loss of use of both arms
  • Blindness in both eyes having only light perception, plus loss of or loss of use of one leg
  • Loss of or loss of use of one lower leg together with residuals of organic disease or injury
  • Loss of or loss of use of one leg together with the loss of or loss of use of one arm
  • Certain severe burns
  • Loss of or loss of use of one or more lower extremities due to service on or after September 11, 2001, which results in the need for braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.

Special Housing Adaptation

The Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant provides up to $13,511 for people in permanent housing that the eligible veteran or a family member owns. The following medical conditions qualify:

  • 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.

The maximum grant amounts listed are 2014 figures and may change depending on average construction costs. The VA will only make three separate payments per veteran. The combined total cannot exceed the maximum grant amount. Veterans who are living with a family member temporarily may qualify for a “temporary grant” to adapt the family member’s home under either program. Maximum amounts for these temporary grants are $29,657 for the SAH grant and $5,295 for the SHA grant.

How do I apply?

To apply, file a VA Form 26-4555 (from the US Department of Veterans Affairs) at your VA Regional Loan Center. The center for New Jersey Veterans is:

Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Regional Loan Center
1240 East Ninth Street
Cleveland, OH 44199
1-800-729-5772

Veterans may also apply online at eBenefits or call 1-800-827-1000 to have a form mailed to their address.

A second application form is required to approve a specific project (VA Form 26-4555c). A veteran applying for the special home adaptation benefit must file the first form (VA Form 26-4555) before paying the cost of the adaptation in full, or the VA can deny payment. The second form (VA Form 26-4555c) can be filed later, according to the VA Office of General Counsel.

If you apply for a grant and are denied, you can appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). You can find more information at Veterans Benefits Administration (from the US Department of Veterans Affairs).

Home Improvements and Structural Alterations

The Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant can be used for home improvement expenses needed to continue treatment, or for disability access to the home and essential sanitary facilities. Unlike the first two grant programs, HISA is available to veterans with disabilities that are not connected to their military service. HISA grants can be provided in addition to SAH or SHA grants for qualifying veterans. Home improvement benefits up to $6,800 may be provided for veterans rated with a 50 percent or more service-connected disability. Home improvement benefits up to $2,000 may be provided to all other veterans registered in the VA health care system.

How do I apply?

Veterans can apply for HISA grants by completing VA Form 10-0103 (from the US Department of Veterans Affairs). For information on other requirements and examples of the types of projects the VA approves, see Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) (from the US Department of Veterans Affairs).

More Resources

The New Jersey Veterans Guide provides information on other related benefits and programs for veterans, such as special low-interest home loans and property tax exemptions and deductions.

Disability Rights New Jersey’s Assistive Technology Advocacy Center provides information on assistive and adaptive devices and resources for people with disabilities. www.drnj.org/atac

 

 

This article appeared in the April 2014 edition of Looking Out for Your Legal Rights®.

4/25/2014