Military veterans and service members risked their lives to protect the country. If their service leads to a disability, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has housing assistance programs to help them live in a safe and comfortable home.
In this article, learn more about these disabled veteran housing assistance programs and how these veterans may apply for them.
Disabled Veteran Housing Assistance In A Nutshell
When a person has a disability, they will have specific living requirements, and their home must be able to accommodate these particular needs. To address these things, the VA created several housing grants that veterans could access depending on their veteran disability rating.
There are two main housing grants for disabled veterans: the Specially Adapted Housing Grant and the Special Housing Adaptation Grant.
Specially Adapted Housing Grant
The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant is designed to help a veteran who owns or plans to own a home apply for funds they can use to make the home more accessible for their medical needs. The amount granted per year depends on VA budget mandates, and the number of grant recipients is also limited per year.
If you want to qualify for the Specially Adapted Housing Grant, you must meet one or more of these medical conditions:
- Total loss or loss of use of upper extremities that limit the use of arms at or above the elbow
- Total loss or loss of use of lower extremities that requires the use of a wheelchair, cranes, braces, and crutches to move
- Total loss or loss of use of lower legs in combination with chronic issues related to injuries
- Total disability from severe burns
- Blindness in both eyes
Aside from the medical side, the veteran’s home will also be evaluated. It is crucial to prove that it is medically feasible for the veteran to live in the house and that it is economically feasible for them to afford typical homeownership expenses.
Special Housing Adaptation Grant
On the other hand, the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant is exclusive to active and veteran servicemembers who need funds to modify their homes. Like the SAH grant, there is a cap on the funds a disabled veteran may receive, and the amount is announced each year through the VA website.
The main requirement of the SHA grant is that the veterans or servicemembers have permanent, service-connected disabilities. In particular, this grant is available for people who have one or more of the following:
- Blindness in both eyes
- Loss or loss of use of both arms or hands below the elbows
- Severe burn injuries
If you meet these requirements, you should also ensure that you or a family member owns the home you wish to modify.
You should also choose modifications that will help your medical needs, including modifying flooring or walkways to enhance accessibility or adding guardrails or handrails for safety. It is not allowed to use the grant for cosmetic enhancements at home.
How To Apply For SAH And SHA Grants
Once you’ve ensured your eligibility for disability housing grants, you may visit the VA eBenefits page to begin an online application. To access this account, you must register or sign in with your DS Logon account.
There are also other options worth trying. First, you should fill out an Application in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation Grant (VA Form 26-4555).
Then, you should find a VA regional office near you to mail in an application or submit the form personally.
VA Loans For Buying, Refinancing, Or Improving A Home
If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for grants, you may consider applying for VA home loans. VA loans are exclusive to active service members and veterans, and what makes them different is the lack of a down payment and lower mortgage rates.
Some VA home improvement loan options worth considering are:
- VA Cash Out Refinance – If a veteran owes less in their mortgage than the overall cost of the home, they can tap into the home equity with a cash-out refinance. This money may be used for any purpose, including home improvements.
- VA Renovation Loan – The VA home renovation loan allows for alterations and repairs in a home, which is important if you need to modify it based on disability. The maximum amount that will be provided in this loan will be based on the home’s expected value after repairs are complete.
- VA Energy Efficiency Loan – If you want to make energy efficiency changes to your home, like thermal windows, solar heating, insulation, or cooling systems, the VA Energy Efficiency Loan may help you.
- Supplemental VA Loan – Lastly, if you need more money to finance home improvement projects, you may take on another loan, also known as the Supplemental VA Loan. This loan only allows projects to improve your home’s basic livability and requires that you provide a “statement of reasonable value” signed by a VA-approved appraiser.
If you are interested in applying for a VA loan, you should provide the following:
- A good credit score of at least 620
- Certificate of eligibility from the VA
- Proof of residence in the eligible property
- Proof that your home meets the minimum VA property standards
How To Apply
Various lenders who partner with the Department of Veteran Affairs offer VA home loans. Because of this, interested applicants should check the application process through their lender of choice.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Disabled veterans have several housing options, including VA home loan programs with adapted housing grants, affordable rental housing through HUD’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program, and specialized long-term care facilities such as VA Community Living Centers.
Disabled veterans can apply for a VA home loan by obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA and selecting a VA-approved lender. They can also apply for the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) or Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grants by completing the required application forms available on the VA website or through their local VA Regional Office.
The HUD-VASH program combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance with VA case management and supportive services for eligible homeless veterans, including disabled veterans. To access the program, veterans can apply through their local public housing agency (PHA) or contact their nearest VA medical center for a referral.
Explore Housing Options For Disabled Veterans Today
If you have a disability, modifying your home to improve your quality of life is very important. Though home improvements may be costly, disabled veteran housing assistance like these options can defray these expenses and make a good home accessible.
If you don’t have a disability but you have bad credit, you can check out our article about housing assistance for veterans with bad credit.
For more emergency housing options for disabled individuals, check out the resources available at Gov Relations today!