Specially Adapted Housing benefits Veterans and the Family.

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© 2017 Charles M. Schwab Architect

There are three types of housing grants that are available to veterans who have a service-connected disability due to military service, entitling them to compensation that can be used for their home. This is available to service members that have served since June 15, 1945.

The law is officially known as Title 38, United States Code, chapter 21. The original statute was Public Law 702, 80th Congress, dated June 19, 1948. Public Law 109-233, The Veterans Housing Opportunity and Benefits Act of 2006, dated June 15, 2006, and Public Law 110-289, The Economic and Housing Recovery Act of 2008 that expanded benefit eligibility.

2 grants pertain to different levels of disability and a third pertains to either of the first two to be used in a home temporarily. The third grant has potentially exponential benefits for the parents or expanded family members over the long term. Let’s look at the three types of grants. The most specific data should be inquired at the VA office that holds your personal claim records.

Grant Types

1) Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH) has been increased to $77,307 per recipient for 2017 and can be used on up to 3 separate occasions, so long as the total does not exceed the total grant amount.

This grant is available to a combination of losses such as upper and lower extremities, blindness and burns. There are combinations of disabilities that qualify for the SAH grant. SAH is a grant for the service members own single family home, based on several inclusive design criteria. Your VA office must be consulted for details pertaining to your specific case.

2) Special Housing Adaptation Grant (SHA). Note the similar word usage that notes a different grant type. The total amount per recipient was raised to $15,462 for 2017.

This grant may not be relevant to SCI/D but is noted as the grants were expanded in 2008 and there are diverse readers of PN magazine. SHA grant is for blindness in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less, loss of or loss of use of both hands, certain burn injuries and certain severe respiratory injuries. This is also to be used only in one’s own private home.

3) A Temporary Grant (TRA). This grant makes great sense for the youngest of veterans or service members. This can be applied to those who are either SAH or SHA qualified. The current temporary grant for SAH recipients is $33,937 and for SHA recipients it is $6,059.0

This grant is available to qualified veterans or service members who will be residing in the home of a family member or other temporary home. The TRA takes into consideration the reality that young veterans may not be able or interested in building or remodeling their own home at this young, and recovering, stage in their lives. This grant really makes allot of sense and also respects family assistance needs during recovery.

The TRA amounts could be applied to the total available (per SAH or SHA) and then when the member is ready to build or move into their own home they can then utilize the remaining that is available.

Team Family: SAH can benefit family too!

Let’s suppose an SAH qualified recipient is not yet ready to build an SAH single family home. Why not use the TRA on your parents’ home for a home remodel or addition according to the VA requirements. When you are ready to settle down and move into or build your own SAH home, your parents could then reimburse you for the earlier TRA granted amount, because the SAH remodeled features will then be a benefit to them.

Who’s to say, they can’t stay in the remodeled home, benefiting after the recipient has perhaps married and started their own family. The grant recipient could then have the SAH balance remaining for a new home (Total SAH benefit minus TRA used a portion on remodel or addition) plus the same TRA amount of your parent’s home remodel, used when the recipient lived there.

The inclusive designed remodel or addition will then be an enduring benefit providing living in place/aging in place possibilities. In other words, the original amount of the SAH is still available to the recipient after parents reimburse for the TRA invested in the house, but the recipient no longer lives there.

Family involvement is most valuable for a service member or veteran’s healthy recovery. This can be physical support, emotional, financial or all three. Since the addition is SAH access: able it could also be a good investment for a grandparent later. Combining resources could make good family sense and a family approach. Assisted living averages $3600 per month in the USA or 43,200 a year!

The SAH or SHA programs can then be used in conjunction with a GI home loan when the recipient is ready to build their own SAH or SHA home.

Access: Able features:

A few SAH home features include 4′-0″ wide hallways in a new home. 2 separate accessible entrances are required. A bathroom with generous maneuverability with unimpeded access to at least 4 feet at each bathroom fixture and a 5′-0″ turning area is required. More Access: Able features include lower light switches, egress windows, outlets, insulated sink pipes, non-slip floors, thermostatic water controls, lever faucets and 32″ passageways, smoke and low maintenance products etc. Separate HVAC zones are ideal for a bed and bath home addition. For more information go to www.UniversalDesignOnline.com

Author: Charles

Mr. Schwab is a home designer and licensed Architect specializing in universal and accessible design that is also sustainable and healthy. He also designs light commercial buildings.