Grants for Handicapped-Accessible Home Modifications
This financial aid can help you make specific home improvements
Homeowners or their family members who are injured, disabled, or elderly often require accessibility upgrades to ensure their properties are safe and functional for them. These projects commonly include widened doorways, ramp entryways, handrails, and more.
For homeowners worried about the costs of such updates, there are a number of disability grants for home improvements that can help.
Federal Disability Grants for Home Improvements
There are several federal grants—money you don’t have to pay back—that can help homeowners cover the costs of disability-related home improvements.
Grants for Veterans
- Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grants: In fiscal year 2020, qualifying veterans who own their homes and have a service-related disability can get up to three grants worth a total of $90,364.
- Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grants: Some veterans may also qualify for up to three of these grants, worth a total of $18,074 in fiscal year 2020.
- Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) Grant: These grants are designed for improving the home of a family member if a veteran must live there temporarily. The qualifications are the same as the two programs listed above, and amounts for fiscal year 2020 are $39,669 if you qualify for an SAH grant, and $7,083 if you qualify for an SHA grant. You can apply for the SAH, SHA, and TRA grants via the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
- Home Improvements and Structural Alteration (HISA) Grants: These can be used for qualifying home modifications. Veterans can get up to $6,800 in lifetime assistance from this program.
Grants for Low-Income, Rural Homeowners
For low-income homeowners living in qualifying rural parts of the U.S., the Department of Agriculture offers the Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program. Only seniors 62 and older are eligible for these grants, which go up to $7,500. But note that if the home is sold in less than three years, the grant may be recaptured.
Grants for American Indian and Native American Tribes
Members of federally recognized American Indian and Native American tribes can get grants through the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Housing Improvement Program (HIP). The program does not specifically provide disability grants, but instead offers up to $60,000 in home improvement assistance.
If you qualify for Medicare Part B, you can use your benefits to cover the costs of “durable medical equipment” for your home, such as hospital beds, patient lifts, toilet chairs, and more.
State Accessibility Grants and Programs
In addition to the federal government, individual states also offer a variety of grants designed for home accessibility improvements and upgrades. For example, Maine offers a Home Accessibility and Repair Program for low-income homeowners who need money for home improvements, including those specific for persons living with a disability. Illinois also offers a Home Accessibility Program that provides funding to local governments and nonprofit organizations in the state so that they can help homeowners with disabilities stay in their homes.
To see what programs are available in your area, check with:
- Your state/city housing or housing finance agency
- Your state/city health or human services department
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in your state
Private Disability Grants for Home Improvements
Finally, there are also private grants you can use to pay for home modifications. These often come from community organizations, nonprofits, and private corporations.
Here are just a few you may consider:
- Travis Roy Foundation Grant: These are for disabled homeowners with spinal cord injuries due to sudden unexpected accidents only. Grants average about $3,000, with a maximum of $5,000, though the board may approve partial funding for larger amounts.
- Rebuilding Together: This volunteer organization offers no-cost home repairs and improvements. See RebuildingTogether.org to find a branch in your area.
- Self-Sufficiency Grants: These are offered by the Modest Needs Foundation, and are available to low-income homeowners. The application can be completed online in about 30 to 45 minutes.
For other private grant programs you might be eligible for, check with your local chamber of commerce, disability advocacy groups, charities, and community organizations and nonprofits (particularly those focused on veterans, seniors, or specific diseases and disabilities).
Your city’s agency on aging may also be a good resource for help with accessibility home improvements.
Other Ways to Fund Home Improvements
If you’re unable to qualify for a grant, there are other low-cost ways to finance your home modifications. The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) 203(k) rehabilitation loan may be a good option. This loan allows you to refinance your current mortgage, rolling the costs of home improvements into your balance.
Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage and Freddie Mac’s CHOICERenovation Mortgages may also be good options to consider. Make sure you shop around with several lenders before moving forward with your loan application. This will allow you to get the best rate.
- There are a number of federal grants that can help disabled homeowners cover the costs of accessibility improvements. Veterans, in particular, have many options.
- States also offer a variety of home improvement grants that may be helpful. These vary, so check with your state agencies for guidance.
- Private organizations like non-profits, advocacy groups, and others provide grants that can help offset improvement costs. Check with your local chamber of commerce or agency on aging for help locating these opportunities.
- If you don’t qualify for a grant, there are low-cost loans you may be able to use to finance your improvements. The FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac all offer renovation-specific loan products. You may also qualify for a personal home improvement loan from a private lender.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "Disability Housing Grants for Veterans." Accessed April 9, 2020.
U.S Department of Veterans Affairs. "Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA)." April 9, 2020.
Travis Roy Foundation. "Grant Application." Accessed April 9, 2020.