How Can We Afford to Pay for Home Modifications?

It is much more economical to add the Universal Design to a new house during the construction process. But, if you are not planning on building new, then the next option would be to modify your existing home. How will you pay for this?? If you don’t have the money available to you, you may have to find some funding. There are government sources on the federal, state, and local level, as well as other sources. The following is a list of possibilities:

  • Centers for Independent Living (CILS) ~ for more information visit www.virtualcil.net/sils/
  • Community Service Organizations ~ Elk, Lions, Kiwanis Clubs, Rotary or other community service organizations may have budgeted funds for assistance to people with disabilities.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs ~ The Dept. of VA offers a Specially Adapted Housing Grant Program for GI’s who have lost limbs and must use wheelchairs. Vets who contract a debilitating disease while in the service are also eligible. The grant amount extends to $50,000 based on the nature of the disability and covers home building and accessibility modifications. For more information, contact the VA Customer Service Center at 1-800-827-1000.
  • Long-term Care Insurance ~ Some long-term care insurance policies cover special equipment such as ramps and grab bars that assist in the performance of activities of daily living at home. John Hancock Life Insurance Company has one such program – “Enriched Home Care Benefit”.
  • Medicare/Medicaid ~ Fees for durable medical equipment and supplies may be covered, provided that the products are ordered by a physician and are medically necessary to treat an illness or injury. Programs vary by state.
  • Private Insurance ~ Depending on the terms of a policy, private insurance may pay for ramps and home modifications. Additionally, the cost of a home assessment by an Occupational Therapist or other environmental professional may be fully or partially covered by insurance benefits.
  • Public and Private Agencies ~ Eligibility is based on individual agency requirements. Contact the following agencies for information on services and eligibility requirements:
    • Easter Seals
    • United Cerebral Palsy
    • United Way Organizations
    • Muscular Dystrophy Association
    • Epilepsy Foundation
    • Multiple Sclerosis Association
    • Developmental Disability Planning Council
  • Reverse Mortgages ~ A reverse mortgage is a special type of loan used by homeowners age 62 and older to convert part of the equity in their homes into tax-free cash without having to sell the home, give up title or take on a new monthly payment. Instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the payments are “reversed” and a lender makes payments to you. Eligible property types include single-family homes, manufactured homes built after 1976, qualified condominiums, and townhouses. For additional information, log onto www.reversemortgage.org.
  • Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit ~ Applying for a home equity loan or line of credit through your bank or mortgage lender would be ideal for larger projects. In general terms, this option allows lenders to use the homeowner’s equity that has already accrued as collateral to determine qualifications for loan approval and amounts. Once the owner pays the loan, equity is restored. Contact your bank, lender, or financial advisor for additional information.
  • A great website I found with a ton if information is: www.wiaffordableassistedliving.org
  • You may qualify to claim a tax credit if you install or hire someone else to install one or more accessibility features in an existing home to make it accessible to people with limited capabilities.

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