VA Expands Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans
In a recently released entry into the Federal Register, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amended the regulations regarding grants for Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Program.
The Specially Adapted Housing Program
Within this program there are two major sources of assistance:
- Specially Adapted Housing Grant
- Special Housing Adaptation Grant
The assistance provided by the SAH Program can be used to purchase, construct, or adapt a home that meets the needs of the disabled Veteran. The funds can also be used to reduce the debt from buying a home that has already been adapted.
The amount of SAH assistance a disabled Veteran can receive is based on a few things:
- The nature of the Veteran’s disability
- The scope of the project
- The amount of SAH assistance already received
SAH for Blindness
The new change provides SAH eligibility for Veterans with blindness in both eyes. Previously, there had to be a “loss or loss of use” of another extremity in order for blindness to be considered for SAH funding.
As such, the loss or loss of use of one lower extremity is no longer a criterion for receiving SAH benefits for blindness in both eyes.
Additionally, “blindness in both eyes” has been changed from having only light perception to “having central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a standard correcting lens.”
This means that Veterans who are blind in both eyes are now eligible for SAH assistance and can receive up to $100,896 for the year. These changes apply to applications received on or after August 8, 2020.
More SAH/SHA Grants Available
Previously, an eligible disabled Veteran was permitted three separate grants from the SAH program. The new amendment now allows for a maximum of six (6) grants of assistance.
These changes apply to all applications submitted on or after October 1, 2020.
Furthermore, the amendments increased the annual number of SAH applications the VA is authorized to approve, from 30 to 120 applications. These funds are available to Post-9/11 Veterans who are entitled to VA disability compensation for permanent service-connected disabilities.
To be eligible, “the disability had to be incurred on or after September 11, 2001, and must be due to the loss or loss of use of one or more lower extremities which so affects the function of balance or propulsion as to preclude ambulating without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.”
Increased Money for SAH Grant Programs
On October 1, 2021, the max amount for the Specially Adapted Housing Grant increased to $101,754.
The max amount for the Special Housing Adaptation Grant jumped to $20,387.
They sound almost identical, right? So, what’s the difference?
The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant helps disabled Veterans construct or modify a home to meet their adaptive needs. These are generally larger projects that require more drastic changes to a structure.
The Special Housing Adaptation (SAH) Grant is designed to make specific, smaller changes within a home to increase the mobility of a disabled Veteran.
Applying for an SHA/SAH Grant
To apply for either the Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation Grants, you must go to the VA’s eBenefits website. You will need a DS Logon to access your basic or premium account.
You can also apply by mail:
- Fill out the Application in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation Grant (VA Form 26-4555)
- Mail the completed form to the nearest regional loan center.
- If you need assistance, call 877-827-3702, M-F, 8am to 9pm ET.
Time to Live in Freedom
You have served your country with Honor and Courage. You wear the wounds brought on by your service. It’s time to live free from limitations in your home.
So, if you are eligible, apply for these amazing grants and make your home, your life, into something you deserve.
(Image courtesy of oneinchpunch via Shutterstock)
About the author
Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.