Qualifying Veterans with 100 percent disabling conditions and those with other combined disabilities incurred during their time in the service can avail themselves of one of four types of housing allowances currently offered by the VA. They are as follows: Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant, Special Home Adaptation (SHA) Grant, Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) Grant, and the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grant.
But receiving housing grant money is only the first step for Veterans with disabilities to live comfortably and independently in their homes. Whether you’re planning to remodel your newly purchased house, or you want to retrofit a current residence, making the appropriate modifications is the most crucial step. And depending on how extensive your adaptations need to be, it can be an expensive and challenging experience, so you want to make sure that you plan wisely.
The good news is that today we have far more products available to accommodate various disabilities – they can be as simple as installing a taller toilet to putting in an elevator – and, better still, more contractors are becoming familiar with these specialties.
Here are 7 tips to consider before adapting your home to accommodate disabilities:
You can get away with a reputable maintenance person for smaller tasks such as installing handrails, adjusting the peephole on the front door, and changing out light switches.
Sure, you might need to include roll-under sinks and vanities, lower countertops, pull-down shelving, wider doorways, roll-in showers, and a floor plan that allows for unrestricted movement in your home. But that doesn’t mean that your house has to look dramatically different from others in your neighborhood.
Safety, accessibility, and comfort for you and your family are your top goals, and you can achieve those without sacrificing aesthetics. For instance, use landscaping to build a natural sloped path to your entry, which will blend in much better than a traditional ramp. Also, consider attractive battery-operated, hands-free faucets in kitchens and bathrooms and touch-control drawers. As an added bonus, many of these adaptations will benefit the homeowners who want to age in place.
Under certain circumstances, for tax purposes, you can deduct some medically necessary home renovations if they qualify as deductible medical expenses. However, to do so, you must itemize your personal deductions rather than taking the standard deduction. If you don’t itemize, you won’t get a deduction for your medical expenses, including home improvements. Today, it’s more difficult for many taxpayers to itemize due to the changes brought about by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that took effect in 2018. You should know that the rules for valuing renovations get muddy if they also improve the value of your home. So, to ensure that you don’t go in over your head, it’s essential to check with a tax professional when you consider adapting your home.
There’s a lot of work involved in building or adapting a user-friendly house to accommodate those with disabilities. But when it’s done correctly, the end result is a home you love in which you and your family can live comfortably for many years.