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Finding the Funds for Home Modifications

Finding the Funds for Home Modifications

If emptying a savings account or cashing in an insurance policy seem to be the only financial options for changing an ordinary residence into a power chair accessible home, think again.

Contrary to popular belief, there are several low-cost and no-cost resources available to the disabled and the elderly who need to make home modifications for accessibility. In fact, the U.S. government is required by law to provide financial assistance for this very purpose.

And, while some programs have age, disability, income or residential restrictions, many don't require the money to be paid back at all.

Funding Accessible Home Modifications

A single fold wheelchair ramp is a helpful home modificationAdapting a home to suit accessibility needs ccan be a relatively simple task (grab bars in the bathroom or a portable ramp over steps), or it may require professional assistance (setting up a stair lift or widening doorways for power wheelchair access). In either case, the cost to adapt a home for safety might be covered by outside sources, such as those listed below.

  1. State-Financed Grants and Low-Interest Loans — Free grants or low-interest federal loans for eliminating mobility barriers in the home. Contact: H.U.D. or local agencies for the aging and disabled.
  2. Medicare and Medicaid1 — Medicare Part B may cover the costs for in-home mobility equipment (power wheelchairs, walkers). Medicaid's state-based waivers may pay for renovations (handrails, grab bars, etc). Contact: State health and human services, or local agencies.
  3. Government Grants for the Elderly and Disabled — The Department of Veterans Affairs provides grants based on nature and severity of the disability. The USDA offers need-based grants to senior citizens who cannot afford a loan. Contact: Federal agencies for details about income, disability and residential requirements.
  4. Non-Profit Organizations and Foundation Grants — Provides money, materials and/or volunteers to make home modifications. Contact: National and/or local chapters of non-profit foundations.

For additional information, referrals and funding resources, contact local centers of the National Council for Independent Living.

This article is for informational purposes and is not a guarantee of financial assistance from, or an endorsement of, any particular resource mentioned within its contents.

1Extent of coverage depends on specific insurance plan, benefits, configuration and eligibility. Valid doctor's prescription required.

June 5, 2013