How to Pay for Home Modifications
Adding modifications to any home adds value to not only the current occupants but also the future buyers
• Simple and cost effective safety measures like Grab Bars, Tub Bench, Handheld Shower, Tub Modification, Stair Rails, Lighting, and Non-Slip Treatments can save a lot of pain and suffering.
• Assisted living facilities can cost $40,000 per year and up. Investing in Aging-in-Place home improvements makes financial sense, and more importantly allows you to stay in the home you love.
• Access and mobility in your own home = Priceless
Independent Living Centers
These centers provide information and referrals on how to get funding in your area. There are approximately 400 independent living centers around the country.
Find one near you, contact the National Council on Independent Living Centers at:
(703) 525-3406 (V)
(703) 524-3407 (TDD)
Most states have a state independent living council (SILC) that can give you a referral. See the Directory of Centers for Independent Living,
1. Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) allows recipients of this program to set aside income toward an approved plan for achieving self-support without jeopardizing benefits. This plan will cover modifications to a home through an SSI savings plan. Call (800) 772-1213 for information.
2. USDA Rural Development, Section 502
The Direct Rural Housing Loan Program, Section 502, provides assistance to very low, and low income owner-occupied households. The Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan Program provides assistance to households with moderate incomes to buy, build, improve, repair or rehabilitate rural homes. Call (202) 720-4323 for information.
3. Veterans with disabilities may contact their service officer to determine how much modification the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) will pay. Also ask about the Veteran’s Administration Home Adaptation Grant Program. For literature and details on programs, contact the Paralyzed Veterans of America: (202) 872-1300 (V), (202) 872-1300, ext 622 (TTY), (202) 785-4452 (FAX).
4. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD Homes) has various programs for low-income families and persons with disabilities. Check government pages in your directory for contact information.
5. Internal Revenue Service (IRS): deductions are allowed for certain modifications such as installation of ramps, widening doorways, modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment, moving or modifying electrical outlets and fixtures, fire alarms, and smoke detectors. Accessibility features are considered medical expenses. Check with your local office or tax attorney for details.
6. Federal Medicaid Waiver programs are available and variable on a state or local level.
7. Federal Title XXI Social Security funds are available and variable on a state or local level.
8. The Federal Older Americans Act is administered through state Boards on Aging and/or state and local agencies. Check for local listings in government pages of directory.
1. Check with your State for special, low interest loans and grants.
2. Your State’s Vocational Rehabilitation program may pay for such things as ramps if the ramp allows a person to get to his or her job.
3. The Rural Developments office provides 502 or 504 loans in rural areas. Low-income homeowners over 62 also qualify for grants under 504 to build and repair their homes. Contact your local SDA/Rural Developments county office.
4. Check for State sales tax exemptions and deductions; State and local property tax credits or abatements.
1. Inquire of your city, town, or county for special housing programs. Try your alderman or local congressman’s office for information on housing repair programs. Programs are granted to low-income families and may include kitchen or bathroom modification or ramp installation.
2. Access Home Modification Program
The Access Home Modification Program provides mortgage loans (up to $10,000) to assist persons with disabilities or who have a family member(s) living in the household with disabilities who are purchasing homes and need to make accessibility modifications. This program provides a deferred payment loan, with no interest or fees, and no repayment until the house is sold, transferred, or the first mortgage is paid off or refinanced. HYPERLINK “http://www.phfa.org/consumers/homebuyers/accesshomemod.aspx” \t “_blank” http://www.phfa.org/consumers/homebuyers/accesshomemod.aspx
3. Center for Accessible Housing (CAH)
CAH publishes fact sheets, such as Financing Home Accessibility Modifications, Home Financing for Older People, Benefits of Accessory Unit Housing for Elderly Persons with Disabilities, The Housemate Agreement, and technical packages for using grab bars, universal design, etc. Contact: Center for Accessible Housing at North Carolina State University, (919) 515-3082.
Worker’s Compensation and Private Insurance
1. Home modification can be included as part of a Workers Compensation claim and rehabilitation program.
2. Private insurance can include home modification as part of a rehabilitation program. Certain modifications, such as purification systems or air conditioners may be covered as a medical necessity, if prescribed by a doctor. Make sure to get a letter from your doctor describing your injury and what is needed. (Expect an automatic denial, and then keep appealing before being accepted. Remember to provide the specific information requested by your insurance company, such as obtaining several price quotes for an item.