Retired military veterans who have service-connected disabilities have several opportunities to receive financial benefits from a number of different grant programs. Most of the grant programs for retired service members are distributed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These grants help veterans afford modifications to a new or existing home to help accommodate their disabilities without the need to apply for a standard veteran home loan program.
In order to qualify for one of these grants from the VA, applicants must have a disability that is permanent and connected to service. By using the benefits from these VA grants, veterans with disabilities can create a barrier-free home that allows them to live more independently. Read more to learn about the various types of VA grants that can help disabled veterans with their housing needs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs currently offers three primary types of grants that are designed to help military veterans make their homes more accessible. Although these three grants offer similar benefits, each of these housing grants have some differences that should be noted.
The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant is offered specifically to veterans who are looking to build a specially constructed home to accommodate their disabilities. Additionally, this grant can help remodel a home to make it more accessible for individuals with disabilities.
One of the benefits of an SAH grant is that it can help pay for part of an unpaid balance of a home mortgage that was initially purchased without VA grants but has since been specially adapted. This means that veterans who are already homeowners who have modified their property to accommodate their disability can still benefit from receiving an SAH grant.
The second most popular housing grant offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs is called the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant. An SHA grant can be used by veterans who already own a home that needs to be adapted for the homeowner’s disability. Veterans can also use the funds from this grant to purchase a home that will be adapted in the future.
The third option available with this grant is to purchase a home that has already been adapted by the previous owner. For instance, a veteran with mobility issues may use their SHA grant to purchase a home that already has a wheelchair ramp installed.
In some cases, retired service members with disabilities may be temporarily living with a family member and adaptations are required to suit the veteran’s particular disability. The Temporary Resident Adaptation grant is designed to help fund the adaptation of a home where a disabled veteran temporarily resides but is owned by a member of the veteran’s family. In order to be eligible for a TRA grant, a veteran must be receiving benefits from either an SHA or SAH grant.
Note: A TRA grant will not deplete the total benefits a veteran receives from their grant funds.
In order to make the application process convenient, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a single application form for the SAH, SHA and TRA grants. Grant applications can be completed by eligible veterans any time by filling out VA Form 26-4555 online, over the phone or in person.
Veterans who are interested in applying for these special housing grants will need to have their eligibility verified based on their disability. In order to qualify, retired service members must have a permanent and total disability that is service-connected. The specific disabilities that qualify veterans to receive benefits will differ depending on the type of grant they are requesting. An SAH grant will have slightly different eligibility requirements than an SHA grant.
Since the funding for these programs is limited, the VA will only provide housing grants to a limited number of applicants for each fiscal year. Eligible applicants are encouraged to apply each year, especially if they did not receive funding because the benefits cap for the housing grants was reached.
Eligible applicants should understand what benefits they may be qualified to receive under these different VA housing grants. For example, the maximum amount of housing assistance benefits awarded for an SAH grant was about $85,600 in the year 2019. The same year, the maximum benefits for an SHA grant were about $17,000 per beneficiary. Retired service members who are eligible for a TRA grant may receive up to $37,500 depending on the grant they received for their permanent housing.