The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides everything from housing grants for disabled veterans to vouchers that help homeless veterans find affordable housing.
VA nursing homes are also an option for veterans who need a temporary or permanent place to stay when they are recovering or need additional attention.
In order to benefit from any of these programs, veterans will need to meet the eligibility criteria and submit an application. In many cases, a veteran’s eligibility for a specially adapted housing grant (SAH) or other services will be based on his or her disability status.
Other times, veterans will need to prove they are eligible to receive VA medical care before they can qualify for some types of housing assistance, such as HUD-VASH, which is provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in partnership with the VA. Below, learn more about these programs and discover how veterans can start receiving benefits.
There are three main types of disabled veteran housing grants available. First, a SAH grant allows veterans to modify an existing home, buy a new house or build a brand-new home that will better suit their needs. Second, a special housing adaption grant (SHA) can be used by a veteran or his or her family member in order to make adaptations to a new or existing home. And third, a Temporary Residence Adaption (TRA) grant allows veterans to make modifications to a family member’s home if they are staying temporarily with a relative and need adaptations in order to live there.
To be deemed eligible for a SAH grant, a veteran needs to have a service-connected disability such as the loss or loss of use of both arms and legs, or one arm and one leg. However, a veteran can qualify with the loss of one leg or foot if the injury occurred after September 11, 2001. Veterans who are blind and have lost a lower extremity can also qualify.
SHA grants, on the other hand, are available to veterans who are blind in both eyes, have lost the use of both hands or have certain types of breathing or respiratory injuries. For both loans, a veteran can qualify if he or she has certain types of serious burns.
Temporary housing grants for disabled veterans require that an applicant meets the requirements either for the SAH or SHA program. In addition, a veteran needs to be living with a family member whose house needs to be modified in order to suit his or her needs.
Veterans may apply for grants online, in person or through the mail by completing VA Form 26-4555. Once veterans complete the housing grant application process, they must undergo an in-person interview and meet with an adaptive housing agent.
The HUD-VASH program is administered as a joint effort between HUD and the VA. Veterans who are experiencing homelessness may receive vouchers similar to those provided in the housing choice voucher program, also known as Section 8. VA HUD-VASH is only available to veterans who are eligible for VA health services, require case management services and meet the McKinney Homelessness Assistance Act’s definition of homelessness.
Related Article: Adaptive Housing Grants
Furthermore, veterans will need to meet the eligibility criteria for public housing and Section 8 housing set by HUD, such as income limits and other requirements. However, it is important to note that HUD has waived certain program requirements for homeless veterans, which makes the program more accessible. For example, veterans who qualify for this program do not need to go on a waiting list before they can receive vouchers, unlike other Section 8 applicants.
It is helpful to understand the requirements of HUD-VASH before you need assistance. For instance, VA HUD-VASH is a referral-based program, meaning that veterans will usually need to be referred by a different VA program or reach out to the National Homeless Veteran Call Center (NHVCC) at 877-424-3838 (877-4AID VET) in order to apply. Veterans who are approved will have 120 days to find a rental unit either in a public housing project or from a landlord who rents to Section 8 tenants. VA HUD-VASH beneficiaries may choose to move to a new place after receiving vouchers, but they must contact the VA and follow all of the necessary procedures when moving in order to keep their benefits.
A VA nursing home, also known as a community living center (CLC) is a great resource for veterans who need additional help with their daily care. A VA community living center is similar to a nursing home, in that it provides round-the-clock nursing care to residents who live in a communal setting. However, CLCs are different than the VA nursing homes of the past. In a CLC, residents are able to decorate their rooms and even have pets stay with them. These aspects make a CLC feel more like home, which makes this living arrangement a popular option for many veterans.
To be accepted into a VA nursing home, a veteran needs to meet a few eligibility criteria. First, he or she must be eligible for VA health care services already. Second, veterans can qualify if they have a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or more, or if they have a total permanent disability rating that is based on unemployability. In some cases, a veteran can get into a CLC if he or she does not have a clinical need based on a disability. However, this will depend on whether there is space available at the veteran’s local CLC.
Veterans must fill out VA Form 10-10EC (Application for Extended Care Benefits) in order to be considered for a CLC. This application is available through a VA social worker or it can be printed directly from the VA website. VA Form 10-10EC requires basic information about a veteran’s insurance, income, expenses and assets, which is used to determine his or her eligibility.
In most cases, residents of VA nursing homes will need to make a copayment in order to receive services. This expense is usually covered by a veteran’s insurance, but personal funds can also be used. Unfortunately, if a veteran is unable to cover the cost of the copay, he or she may not be accepted into a CLC.
Related Article: HUD-VASH