If you’re a veteran and you’re significantly disabled, you may have heard of the specially adapted housing grant.
The specially adapted housing (SAH) program provides funding to veterans with extreme disabilities that resulted from time spent in service. The grant helps with building, renovating, or buying a modified home that’s easy for veterans with disabilities to live in.
In this Article About Specially Adapted Housing We Cover:
- What Is a Specially Adapted Housing Grant?
- What Are the Specially Adapted Housing Grant Requirements?
- What Are the Specially Adapted Housing Grant Property Requirements?
- How Are the Requirements Enforced?
- What Are the Minimum Property Requirement (MRP) Waivers and Exemptions?
- What Is a Special Housing Adaptation Grant?
- What Is a Temporary Residence Assistance Grant?
- What Are HISA Grants (Home Improvement and Structural Alterations)?
- How to Apply for a HISA Grant
- What Will HISA Grants Pay For?
- What Is Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Housing Adaptation Assistance?
- Applying for a Specially Adapted Housing Grant
Owning or looking after a home is a significant investment and responsibility. As your home is your responsibility, most of the features, structures, and amenities are built to suit your tastes. As long as you stick to local or national construction safety directions, you don’t need to worry.
But, if your home or renovation uses money from the specially adapted housing fund for veterans, you must follow a strict code of standards. Once the work is completed, an inspection will prove that your home is up to standards and is up to the minimum set standards.
If you want to learn more about specially adapted housing and how to get approved, keep reading.
What Is a Specially Adapted Housing Grant?
The specially adapted housing grant helps severely disabled veterans and service members live in a barrier-free home. For example, they may live in a wheelchair accessible home. The grant can provide independent living that might not be possible otherwise.
The maximum grant amount is $90,364. However, the grant amount adjusts annually.
Always check the VA benefits website for the most recent figure. The money can be used to construct or modify a home to meet the needs of a service member with specific disabilities.
Only veterans with certain service-connected disabilities are eligible. These disabilities include:
- Loss of use of both legs
- Inability to move around without the help of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair
- Combination of blindness in both eyes and complete loss or loss of use of one leg
- Loss of use of one leg and residuals of organic disease or injury
- Loss of use of one arm which affects balance and ability to move without help
- Loss of use of both arms at and above the elbows
- Severe burn injury
What Are the Specially Adapted Housing Grant Requirements?
Allowing someone to design their adapted living quarters sounds like an excellent way to make use of creativity and cut down on costs. While this may be true, the strong goal to cut down on costs can typically lead to insufficient amenities that won’t make a veteran’s life easier.
As the Veteran’s Association aims to make life simpler for service members, the organization came up with some rules that work as a guide for the renovations done with this grant.
The main points of the directions focus on:
- Entrance and exit area design and size requirements
- Bathroom or washroom requirements
- Bedroom requirements
- Instructions for condominiums and townhouses
- Certain requirements for service members with burns and breathing-related problems
The minimum property conditions are the most significant parts of a complete list included in a law that dictates how your house must remain legal and sufficient under the SAH grant. As the minimum requirements are so practical, it’s hard to ignore them.
Homes must feature doorways that are wider than 36 inches to allow for convenient wheelchair entry and exit. When the building isn’t a single level, the house must provide easy ways for the veteran to move around the house without endangering themself.
Here is a video explaining how the VA combined ratings table works from one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers.
What Are the Specially Adapted Housing Grant Property Requirements?
There must be two ingress and egress points in the house. While the full details can be found in the veteran affairs handbook for design, here’s the short version:
One must offer a close emergency exit from the main bedroom, preferably inside the room. Ingress and egress points must be found in different parts of the home. Doors must be 36 inches wide and feature a beveled threshold.
The house must have one completely adapted bathroom that is conveniently located. The bathroom must have the following features and amenities:
- Roll-in shower
- Accessible sink
- Accessible toilet
- Accessible floor area
- 36-inch-wide door
There must also be a primary adapted bedroom. This bedroom must have the following features:
- 36-inch-wide door
- Suitable space for assistive devices
- Accessible flooring
- A close emergency exit
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How Are the Requirements Enforced?
There are several ways the VA specially adapted housing requirements are enforced. Before receiving your grant approval, you must first show your floor or renovation plans.
The approval panel will then look through the plans to make sure they follow the minimum requirements. If they do, your grant on the way to be approved.
If you’re dealing with a new building, you’ll have to submit a final blueprint before completing the submission.
Any homes purchased with the idea of using the SAH grant as part of the financing options must fulfill these regulations. Otherwise, you’ll receive a rejection.
What Are the Minimum Property Requirement (MRP) Waivers and Exemptions?
Your regional loan center may give you a pass on some of the minimum building requirements if they don’t apply to your type of injury or won’t make your life any easier. For example, if you experience lower limb immobility, there’s no point in making your home compliant to the burns and respiratory problem requirements.
This enables flexibility and adaption that allows each service member to put their money to the best use possible. To make sure that service members don’t exploit the MRP requirements, the law limits these waivers to three areas. It makes them an exception that must be feasible with your needs rather than a personal preference.
A behind the scenes look at who works for you at Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm.
What Is a Special Housing Adaptation Grant?
The special housing adaption (SHA) grant is another option for making life more comfortable for veterans. It can be used to increase service member’s mobility throughout their home.
Right now, the maximum grant amount is $18,074. However, this adjusts annually, so be sure to check the VA benefits website for the most recent figure.
Veterans and service members may be eligible for this grant. To be eligible to this grant, you must be entitled to disability compensation due to one of the following:
- Blindness in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less in the healthier eye with the use of a corrective lens
- Anatomical loss or loss of use of both hands or arms below the elbow
- Severe burn injury
What Is a Temporary Residence Assistance Grant?
It’s also possible to receive a temporary residence SAH or SHA grant to renovate the home of a family member. The maximum amount of money available to change a family member’s house for the SAH grant is $39,669. For the SHA grant, the maximum amount available is $7,083.
Remember, the maximum grant amounts change annually, so always check the VA benefits website or call us and we can help answer your questions.
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What Are HISA Grants (Home Improvement and Structural Alterations)?
Home improvement and structural alterations grants are the total lifetime grants of either $2,000 or $6,800. They are given to veterans who are eligible for renovating the home for disability.
The HISA benefit of up to $6,800 may be offered to veterans and service members who have a service-connected disability rated 50% or more service-connected.
Lifetime benefit up to $2,00 may be given to veterans who have a non-service-connected disability under specific criteria or qualified for aid and attendance or housebound benefits.
The HISA grants are provided through the local regional medical center prosthetics department. The veteran must be registered in VA health care and receive a prescription from the health care provider for this funding. The money comes from the service member’s local regional medical center budget.
You don’t have to use a Veteran’s compensation lawyer that is nearby. We can work with you over the phone and apply or appeal electronically.
How to Apply for a HISA Grant
To apply for a HISA grant, the service member must be registered with VA healthcare. The veteran must obtain a prescription from a VA physician listed in the VA healthcare system.
This prescription needs to include:
- The diagnosis with medical justification
- The service member’s name, address, SSN, and phone number
To apply, the veteran must provide:
- A completed VA Form 10-0103
- If the property is leased or rented, written permission from the owner
- Quotes from at least one licensed contractor (if required by state law), which includes the contractor’s name, address, telephone, and Federal tax ID number or social security number
- The service member’s name, address, and telephone number
- Plans and drawings
- A detailed list of estimated materials, prices, and labor cost
- All permits required (it is the contractor’s responsibility to acquire these)
- An image of the worksite before construction
For more advice on applying for VA disability claims, check out our guide here. We cover plenty of tips, tricks, and advice that will help you have your request approved on the first go. While we don’t help you specifically apply for HISA grants, the paperwork we have from working on your VA disability application will be organized and ready for your application.
What Will HISA Grants Pay For?
The following list shows the types of projects that HISA grants will fund. This list isn’t all-inclusive and other suitable projects may be approved.
- Roll-in showers
- Constructing wooden or concrete, permanent ramping to offer access to the home
- Widening doorways leading to bedrooms, bathrooms, and other rooms to provide wheelchair access
- Lowering the kitchen or bathroom counters and sinks
- Enhancing entrance paths and driveways in the direct area of the home to allow access to the home
- The building of concrete pads and installation of exterior types of wheelchair lift mechanisms if the installation cost surpasses $500
- Interior and exterior railing considered necessary for service members with ambulatory capability or for veterans that are legally blind if the installation fees are over $500
- Advancements to plumbing or electrical systems that are required due to the installation of dialysis equipment in the home
- Any fees linked with permits, inspection fees, and more that are required by local regulations.
HISA will not cover:
- Walkways to exterior buildings
- The widening of driveways (more than a 7ft x 6ft area)
- Spa, hot tub, or Jacuzzi Exterior decking (you’ll have to use your backpay for that!)
What Is Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Housing Adaptation Assistance?
VR&E is short for vocational rehabilitation, and employment. It provides home adaptions to veterans who cannot work because of the effects of their service-connected disabilities. If their house needs modifications to reach a vocational goal, not just daily living, this grant applies.
These advantages are limited to those required to enhance independence in a home or the community. Home adaptions under the VR&E reach up to $90,364 and may be offered as part of an approved rehabilitation plan.
You’ll have to prove a direct service connection to receive VA disability. In this video, one of our VA disability lawyers explains how.
Applying for a Specially Adapted Housing Grant
Building an SAH compliant home for the first time can be challenging. It’s a good idea to hire the help of a contractor who has experience in this area. SAH compliant contractors help you improve your current property or remodel plans, allowing you a better shot at getting your funding approved when you apply for it.
There are specific regulations for the specially adapted housing grant that must be followed for the minimum property requirements to be reached.
At Woods and Woods, The Veterans Firm, we help veterans every day with VA disability applications and appeals. While we don’t work on Specially Adapted Housing grants, we do help you with step one, which is applying for VA disability. Every call is free and we don’t charge a fee until once we win your case.
Please get in contact with us today and receive a free legal consultation so and your family can live comfortably.