Adaptive Housing Grants

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a few different housing grants for disabled veterans that help them live more independently in a home without barriers.

The specially adapted housing grant (SAH), for example, allows veterans to make modifications to an existing home or build a new home that is suited to their needs. Another grant, the Special Housing Adaption (SHA) Grant, provides similar benefits to veterans. Eligible veterans may also apply for a grant to make adaptations to a temporary home, known as the Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) Grant.

The eligibility criteria for a SAH grant, as well as the SHA and TRA programs, are somewhat similar, but veterans will need to review the requirements carefully before applying. While the benefits of these programs are similar as well, it is important to note that veterans can receive a different amount of grant money from each program. Below, learn more about SAH, SHA and TRA benefits and discover what these grants can be used for.

What is the VA specially adapted housing (SAH) grant?

SAH grants can be used to change your existing home to be more accommodating, build a new home or buy an existing home that will suit your needs. You can apply for this grant if you own or are in the process of buying a home.

Furthermore, you must have an eligible service-connected disability, including any of the following:

  • The loss of use or complete loss of both legs, both arms or one leg and one arm.
  • The loss of use or complete loss of a lower leg in addition to a natural disease or injury.
  • Blindness in both eyes in addition to the loss of use or complete loss of a leg.
  • The loss of use or complete loss of one or both feet or legs, resulting in the need to use braces, canes, crutches or a wheelchair.
    • This particular loss must have occurred after September 11, 2001.
  • Certain types of severe burns.

Funds for specially adapted housing under this program are only available for 30 veterans per fiscal year. If you are eligible for a SAH grant, but the VA’s quota has been met, you may qualify to use your benefits in the following fiscal year or during a different year in the future. As of fiscal year 2019, you can currently receive up to three grants from the SAH program for a total of $85,645.

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A special adapted housing grant can be used for a variety of purposes to make your home (or future home) more accessible. For example, you can renovate the interior of your home, including the bathroom, kitchen or bedroom, as well as exterior areas such as your garage or walkway. Ramps, hand rails and new doors can also be installed to help make a home more accessible.

Qualifications for SHA Grants

The money from SHA grants, like SAH grants, can be used to buy a home, build a home or make changes to your permanent home so that it accommodates your needs. While these two grants are similar, the eligibility criteria for a SHA grant are a little different.

Most importantly, either you or a family member can qualify for the SHA program, whereas you alone are the only one who can qualify for the SAH program. You or a family member must own a home or be in the process of building or buying a home to qualify. Furthermore, you must have a service-connected disability including one of the following:

  • Blindness in both eyes with a visual acuity of 20/200 or less
  • The loss of use or total loss of both hands
  • Certain types of severe burns
  • Certain types of breathing or respiratory injuries

You can apply for this VA adaptive housing grant up to three times to receive a total of $17,130 as of fiscal year 2019. Note that this dollar amount increases on an annual basis.

Temporary Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans

If you are a veteran with service-connected disabilities and you do not have a permanent home, you may also qualify for a TRA grant, which will allow you to upgrade a temporary residence. To qualify for this disabled veteran housing grant, you must meet the eligibility criteria for either the SAH or SHA program. You also need to be staying in a family member’s home that needs updates or renovations in order for it to be accessible for you. For example, if you require a wheelchair and your family member’s house does not have a ramp to use, you may be eligible for the TRA grant.

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The amount of money you can receive for a TRA grant varies based on whether you meet the eligibility for the SHA or SAH program as described above. If you qualify for a SAH grant, you may receive up to $37,597 through the TRA program. If you are eligible for a SHA grant instead, you can receive a maximum of $6,713 through a TRA grant.

How to Apply for a Specially Adapted Housing Grant

When you are ready to apply for a VA adaptive housing grant, you can complete the process through a variety of methods. It is easy to apply in one of the following ways:

  • Online using the eBenefits portal
  • Through the mail by completing VA Form 26-4555
  • In person at your local VA regional office

If you are unable to access VA Form 26-4555 online, you can call the VA toll free at 1-800-827-1000 to request that a paper form be mailed to you. Once the form is complete, bring it to a VA regional office or send it through the mail to the address indicated on the form.

SAH Grant Screening and Approval Process

Once your specially adapted housing grant application is submitted, your local Veterans Service Center (VSC) will determine your eligibility for funding. If you are approved, you will receive a notification from the VSC and you will be assigned to an adaptive housing agent.

Next, you will need to undergo an initial interview in person, in which your SAH agent will go over the benefits of your grant and discuss your housing needs. The application process for disabled veteran housing grants also involves a feasibility study, in which the agent will determine if it is medically and financially possible for you to live in your home with modifications. Your current or future home will also be evaluated to make sure it will suit your needs with accommodations.

After this is complete, you will receive conditional approval for a grant and can begin the initial construction process. The VA will provide final approval for your SAH grant once you can prove that you have a legitimate ownership interest in your current or future home.

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