If our readers are interested in applying for one of these grants they should contact an attorney, a financial adviser or a home care agency that is familiar with the application process.
Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C), Section 1717, is the statutory authority for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grants to eligible veterans. Public Law 102-405 increased the lifetime benefit limitation for service connected veterans HISA benefits from $2,500 to $4,100, and non-service connected veterans HISA benefits from $600 to $1,200.
The HISA benefit is limited to the improvement and structural alterations necessary only to assure the continuation of treatment and/or provide access to the home or to essential lavatory and sanitary facilities. NOTE: It does not include those improvements which would serve only to lend comfort to the individual or make life outside the health care facility more acceptable.
Here are the types of projects that HISA grants will pay for. This is not all-inclusive and other appropriate projects may be approved.
(1) Roll-in showers.
(2) Construction of wooden or concrete, permanent ramping to provide access to the home.
(3) Widening doorways to bedroom, bathroom, etc., to achieve wheelchair access.
(4) Lowering of kitchen or bathroom counters and sinks.
(5) Improving entrance paths and driveways in immediate area of home to facilitate access to the home.
(6) Construction of concrete pads and installation of exterior types of wheelchair lift mechanisms if the installation cost exceeds $500.00.
(7) Interior and exterior railing deemed necessary for patients with ambulatory capability or for veterans rated legally blind if the installation cost is over $500.00.