There are many organizations that offer free home modifications for veterans! Whether you have a service-connected disability or you incurred your disability after your military service, there are programs that can help you modify your home so that it is more useful to you.
VA Home Modification Programs
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers three grants that provide free home modifications to disabled people whose disabilities are service-connected by the VA.
Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH)
The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant ensures veterans are living in housing that meets their needs. Eligible veterans can receive over $100,000 to build or purchase a new home, or to modify the home they already have.
The SAH Grant is only available to veterans who have a qualifying service-connected disability. Qualifying disabilities include:
- Loss (or loss of use) of more than one limb
- Loss (or lose of use) of a lower leg along with the residuals of a disease or injury
- Blindness in both eyes (20/200 visual acuity or less)
- Certain severe burns
- The loss (or lose of use) of a lower extremity after September 11, 2001, that makes it impossible to balance or walk without assistive aids
Special Home Adaptation Grant (SHA)
The VA has a second program called the Special Home Adaptation (SHA) Grant. Although the acronyms are similar, the programs are actually very different. The SHA grant can also be used to modify your existing home (or build or purchase a new home) as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. However, this grant is only worth about $22,000.
In order to be eligible for the SHA grant, you must have a qualifying service-connected disability as listed below:
- Loss (or loss of use) of both hands
- Certain severe burns
- Certain respiratory or breathing injuries
Temporary Residence Adaptation Grant (TRA)
If you qualify for SAH or SHA but you are temporarily living with a family member, you may be able to receive funding from the Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) Grant program.
The TRA grant has the same requirements as either the SHA or SAH grants. However, you do not have to own you home in order to receive TRA funds. This program is for people who are temporarily living with a family member.
The TRA program can provide around $8,000 if you are eligible under SHA requirements or around $45,000 if you are eligible under SAH requirements.
Home Improvements & Structural Alterations (HISA)
The HISA program provides medically necessary home modifications for veterans homes. These adaptations must be prescribed by your VA provider.
This program can provide up to $6,800 toward approved modifications, which may include the following:
- Roll-in showers and other bathroom modifications
- Lowered countertops
- Improved entrances and exists
- Plumbing or electrical improvements needed due to home medical equipment installation
This is not an exhaustive list. There are other home modifications that can be completed through this program.
How to Apply
You can apply for all of VA’s home modification grant programs online through eBenefits.
To receive HISA benefits, your doctor will need to provide a prescription through the Home Improvements & Structural Alterations program. The provider will need to describe the project and provide a diagnosis and medical justification for it.
Other Home Modification Programs for Veterans
Of course, the Department of Veterans Affairs isn’t the only resource that offers free home modifications for veterans. If you need help, don’t forget to check out these other great agencies as well!
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross operates a 24/7 Hero Care Center that can help you find financial assistance if you are actively serving in the military or retired from the military. .
They can help with emergency travel, burials, emergency food, shelter, and even assistance with home modifications for veterans. Depending on your situation, the aid they offer may be processed as a loan or a grant.
In order to get assistance, you will need to submit a request. You can do this online, by downloading their free app, or by calling 1-877-272-7337. When you call, you will need to have information ready about your name, rank, branch of service, military unit and other details.
Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes offers emergency financial assistance with a wide variety of needs, including utilities, rent, mortgage payments, auto loans, baby formula, school supplies and more.
They also offer advocacy for auto repairs! To request help, just submit their online form.
Many county governments offer veterans assistance funds. These funds can be used to help pay for rent, utilities, car repairs, or even home modifications for veterans!
The requirements vary by county, so you’ll need to check with your county government for details. Just call and ask about any veterans assistance funds or veteran supportive services offered by the county.
Gary Sinise Foundation
The Gary Sinise Foundation offers assistance with home modifications, mobility devices and adapted vehicles. They specialize in adding ramps, redesigning bathrooms, and making your home more livable and usable to you.
Although I did not find an application on their website, I did notice that you can use their contact form to reach them. You can select “I am seeking support,” and then select “home modification.” You will be asked to provide information about why you need help, how the modifications will help you, and more.
There are a number of local programs that offer home modifications for veterans as well!
- Arizona – AZ Heroes to Hometowns
- Pennsylvania – A Lift for a Vet
- Texas – Operation Forever Free
- Virginia – Hero’s Bridge HomeFront