It is an unfortunate reality that those who enter military service often gain injuries that leave them permanently disabled. These disabilities may make it very difficult for veterans to use a bathroom safely and independently. This problem may be solved by adapting the veteran's bathroom to meet the veteran's physical limitations and needs. Because of the cost of such adaption, the government and private institutions allocate grant monies to disabled veterans who meet specific criteria.
Specially Adapted Housing Grants
The United States Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) offers the Specially Adapted Housing Grant. Monies from this grant may be given to veterans with service-connected disabilities that have resulted in blindness, loss of or loss of use of a limb and hindered mobility that results in the use of crutches, wheelchairs or other equipment.
A typical bathroom modification under this grant might be the installation of a walk-in bathtub or the widening of the bathroom door for wheelchair access. Grant allocations per individual cannot exceed $50,000. More information and application instructions are available from the VA website (homeloans.va.gov/sah.htm) or by calling the local VA office in your area.
Special Home Adaptations Grants
The Special Home Adaptations Grants is the second specially adapted housing grant offered by the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs. Grantees must have a permanent, service-related disability. The disability may be either blindness in both eyes or the loss or loss of use of one or both hands. Bathroom renovations under this grant might include installation of automatic or voice-activated sinks and plumbing fixtures, since blindness and/or the loss of a hand or hands makes operating traditional faucets and switches more problematic. The maximum award through this program is $10,000. Less money is allocated to this program because the Specially Adapted Housing Grant already covers modifications for more severe disabilities.
Temporary Residence Adaptation Grants
Both the Specially Adapted Housing Grant and Special Home Adaptations Grant are aimed toward veterans who own homes. However, not all veterans own a residence. Some choose to live with a family member. The VA now recognizes that these individuals could not receive assistance under previous programs. Thus, it offers the Temporary Residence Adaptation Grants.
The veteran must qualify for a SAH or SHA grant to apply, but may use $14,000 of an SAH or $2,000 of an SHA grant toward modifications of a family member's home rather than to a property he owns. Funding for this program past June 2011 is dependent on program extension votes by congress.
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.