National Funding Sources
Home accessibility solutions are not typically covered by health insurance or Medicare. This means that most individuals must pay for them out of their own pocket. However, if you know where to look, it may be possible to find alternative funding. Listed below are some potential sources for home modification funding. Often times, funding options will vary depending on which state, county and city that you live in. Lifeway Mobility can help you determine what funding assistance you may qualify for.
Home Improvement Loans
Some states offer home improvement micro loans endorsed by housing authorities. Programs such as the Minnesota Housing and Finance Agency Fix-up Fund, Connecticut’s Capital for Change Home Improvement Loan Program, and Massachusetts’ Home Modification Loan Program are a few examples.
Usually, these types of loans offer friendly repayment terms, low fixed-interest rates, no prepayment penalty and lower closing costs and fees than typical home improvement loans. Check with your state housing agencies to see if similar loan products are available in your area.
Federal Savings Bank Home Equity Conversion Mortgage
Homeowners that are 62 and older may be eligible for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). A HECM enables you to take control of monthly cash flow and can provide a line of credit (LOC) that grows over time. The HECM LOC enables you to draw equity tax free, penalty free, at any time.
- No limit on draw period
- No minimum payments required
- Lender cannot freeze or reduce loan amount
- Home NOT subject to foreclosure unless taxes or insurance is unpaid
- Borrowers and their heirs never pay more than the home’s fair market value when the loan matures
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant
Veterans who have specific service-connected disabilities may be entitled to a grant to meet their adaptive needs. The goal of the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant Program is to provide a barrier-free living environment which affords the veteran a level of independent living that he or she may not have otherwise enjoyed. The SAH grant is generally used to create a wheelchair accessible home. This grant is currently limited to $63,780. The SAH grant is available to veterans who have a service-connected disability due to military service, entitling them to compensation for permanent and total disability due to:
- The loss or loss of use of both lower extremities, such as to preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair, or
- Blindness in both eyes, having only light perception, plus loss or loss of use of one lower extremity, or
- The loss or loss of use of one lower extremity together with (1) residuals of organic disease or injury, or (2) the loss or loss of use of one upper extremity, which so affects the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair or,
- The loss or loss of use of both upper extremities such as to preclude use of the arms at or above the elbow.
Special Home Adaptations (SHA) Grant
Veterans who have specific service-connected disabilities may be entitled to a grant for the purpose of modifying an existing home to meet their adaptive needs. The Special Home Adaptations (SHA) grant is generally used to assist veterans with mobility throughout their homes. This grant is currently limited to $12,756. The SHA grant is available to veterans who have service-connected disability due to military service, entitling them to compensation for permanent and total disability due to:
- Blindness in both eyes with 5/200 visual acuity or less or,
- The anatomical loss or loss of use of both hands or extremities below the elbow.
Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grant
Under the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) program, veterans with service-connected disabilities or veterans with non-service-connected disabilities may receive assistance for any home improvement necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to the home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities. A HISA grant is available to veterans who have received a medical determination indicating that improvements and structural alterations are necessary or appropriate for the effective and economical treatment of his/her disability. A veteran may receive both a HISA grant and either a SHA or SAH grant. The HISA program is available for both service-connected veterans and non service-connected veterans.
- Home improvement benefits up to $4,100 may be provided to service-connected veterans.
- Home improvement benefits up to $1,200 may be provided to non-service-connected veterans.
How Can You Apply?
You can apply for the SAH and SHA grants by completing VA Form 26-4555, Veterans Application in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation Grant, and submitting it to your local VA regional office. You can apply for a HISA grant by completed VA Form 10-0103, Veterans Application for Assistance in Acquiring Home Improvement and Structural Alterations, and submitting it to your local VA medical center. Source: http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/sah.asp
U.S. Department of Urban Housing and Development: The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. Beginning in 1974, the CDBG program is one of the longest continuously run programs at HUD. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to 1209 general units of local government and States.
Area Agencies on Aging
Some Area Agencies on Aging may offer home modifications as part of the services that are provided. Depending on the area in which the individual lives, the program may offer home repair and modification services on a sliding scale or free of charge. The Area Agency on Aging may refer to local contractors and remodelers to complete the work, or may hire their own staff. The Eldercare Locator link will help you find your Area Agency on Aging.
State Assistive Technology (AT) Projects
Several states have created home modification programs through their statewide https://www.resna.org/act-programs. The programs can provide trial equipment as well as providing low-interest loans for the purchase of assistive technology or home modifications for individuals with disabilities.
Medicaid & Home and Community-Based Services
States may offer a variety of services to consumers under a HCBS waiver program and the number of services that can be provided is not limited. These programs may provide a combination of both traditional medical services (i.e. dental services, skilled nursing services) as well as non-medical services (i.e. respite, case management, environmental modifications). Family members and friends may be providers of waiver services if they meet the specified provider qualifications. However, in general spouses and parents of minor children cannot be paid providers of waiver services.
Foundations and Organizations
Private foundations and non-profit organizations such as Rebuilding Together will sometimes provide home modification services. Other organizations such as the MS Society will focus on the needs of people with specific illnesses or disabilities. For more information on Rebuilding Together, please visit their website.
If a homeowner is over 62 years of age, they may qualify for a reverse mortgage which can provide funds to pay for the modifications. For more information on reverse mortgages, visit the following websites:
Insurance Coverage of Home Modifications
While health insurance policies rarely cover home modifications, some auto insurance policies, worker's compensation programs, state catastrophic accident insurance plans, or medical trust funds will pay for home modifications, especially if the disability was caused by an accident or injury. Long-term care policies may also cover seniors. Some policies allow individuals to use benefits to cover home modifications if it means the beneficiary can avoid entering an assisted living facility or nursing home.
Those who self pay for their home modifications might be eligible for medical expense tax deductions. Refer to the IRS website for more details.
Local & State Organizations
- American Disabilities Source (in most states)
- Children’s Special Healthcare Services
- Disability Advocates
- Local Chamber of Commerce
- Local Disease/Injury Associations
- Love INC (in most states)
- Masonic Lodge
- Rebuilding Together (in most states) A nonprofit organization using community resources and volunteers to provide free home modifications and repairs for elders and individuals with disabilities
- State Vocational Rehab Systems
- Veterans Associations