The Department of Veterans Affairs offers two housing grants for veterans and currently serving military members who have qualifying service-connected disabilities. The two programs are the Specially Adapted Housing Grant, also known as the VA SAH, and the VA Special Housing Adaptation Grant, also known as a VA SHA Grant.
Grants, Not Loans
Unlike VA home loans, these grants are not offered through a participating VA lender, but directly from the Department of Veterans Affairs and must be applied for via the proper VA claim forms. These grants are NOT part of the VA home loan program, they are separate from VA loans entirely.
These housing grants are not open to all disabled veterans; all applicants must have qualifying injuries/medical conditions as described on the VA official site.
Who Is Eligible For The VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH) And What Is It Used For?
The VA SAH grant is for qualifying disabled veterans who own their home or for homes owned by an “eligible individual”. It can be used to:
- Construct a specially adapted home on land to be purchased
- Build a home on land already owned
- Remodel an existing home (*if the home can feasibly be made suitable
- Apply the grant against the unpaid principal mortgage balance of an adapted home already acquired without the assistance of a VA grant
According to the VA official site, the following are qualifying conditions for VA SAH:
- Loss of or loss of use of both legs
- Loss of or loss of use of both arms
- Blindness in both eyes having only light perception, plus loss of or loss of use of one leg.
- The loss of or loss of use of one lower leg together with residuals of organic disease or injury.
- The loss of or loss of use of one leg together with the loss of or loss of use of one arm.
- Certain severe burns
- The loss, or loss of use of one or more lower extremities due to service on or after September 11, 2001, which so affects the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude ambulating without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair (there are only a limited number of grants available each year for this condition.)
Who Is Eligible For The VA Special Housing Adaptation Grant (SHA) And What Is It Used For?
SHA grants are available for veterans who have qualifying service-connected disabilities (see below) to help them adapt or buy an accessible home. VA SHA grants can be used in several ways:
- Adapt an existing home the veteran (or a family member) already owns where the veteran lives as the primary residence.
- Adapt a home the Veteran or family member intends to purchase where the veteran intends to live as the primary residence.
- Help a Veteran purchase an “already adapted” home where the veteran will live as the primary residence.
What are the qualifying conditions required to be eligible for this VA housing grant? According to the VA official site any one or more of the following:
- Blindness in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less.
- Loss (or loss of use) of both hands.
- Certain severe burn-related injuries.
- Certain severe respiratory injuries.
What Forms Are Needed To Apply For One Of These VA Housing Grants For Disabled Veterans?
Applicants must submit VA Form 26-4555, Application in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation Grant, which is available online through the VA official site. This form can also be mailed to the applicant-call the Department of Veterans Affairs directly at 1-800-827-1000 to request a paper copy of the form.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News