When returning from deployment, adjusting to life stateside may be difficult. For service members returning home with an injury during their service, adapting to a new way of life has its own set of challenges.
The VA has two grant programs that allow veterans with certain permanent service-connected disabilities to build or modify housing to meet their needs: Special Housing Adaptation (SAH) and Specially Adapted Housing (SAH). Though they their names are similar, let’s take a look at how these two grants differ.
Adapt: Special Housing Adaptation (SHA)
The first type of grant is for a Special Housing Adaptation (SHA). This grant is provided to disabled veterans who have suffered service-related injuries and require some assistance. They can be awarded up to $15,462 for expenses including:
- modifying a current home to meet new needs,
- modifying a home the service member is planning to purchase, or
- aiding in the purchase of a house that has already been adapted
Build: Specially Adapted Housing (SAH)
The second type of grant is for Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) and is more widely used. This grant awards up to $77,307 to ensure the qualified veteran’s home is sustainable for independent living, which may include the following expenses:
- the construction of an adapted home on land that still needs to be purchased,
- the construction of an adapted home on which the land is owned,
- the adaptation of an existing home, or
- paying off the principal mortgage on an adapted home that was not purchased with a VA loan
The Veterans Service Center of jurisdiction is responsible for awarding SAH and SHA grants based on the VA Rating Decision. This rating decision is basically whether or not a veteran meets the qualifications to obtain a grant. To discover if you quality, see the United States Department of Veterans Affairs list of service-connected disabilities for housing grants.
What To Know Before You Apply
It is important to note that these grants are distributed through the VA and do not directly affect the loan process.
The veteran’s disability rating does play a role during the time of closing on a home. In fact, about a third of VA borrowers are exempt from paying the VA Funding Fee due to service-related disabilities. In addition, the income received for service connected disability can be considered in income calculations, which may lower the veteran’s debt-to-income ratio.
Another perk of adapted housing grants is that they never expire. A service member that has endured a service-connected disability may apply for a grant whenever he or she wants. The grant may be used up to three times as long as it does not surpass the total initially awarded. Although that amount is generally the same for each recipient, the allocation of it varies. Some veterans may just need certain areas such as the bathroom or bedroom to be improved. Others may need to completely renovate their home to accommodate a wheelchair user. As long as the changes fall within the VA standards, they will be covered by a SAH or SHA grant.
The VA offers a variety of other housing benefits to eligible veterans. Understanding all of the options available to you will help you decide which option is best for your situation.
How To Apply
The easiest way to apply for SAH or SHA is to fill out the VA-26-4555 application online. The VA will review the application to determine if you are eligible to receive a grant and give further instructions. If you prefer to talk to someone in person about the process, you can visit your nearest VA office.
If you’re ready to move forward with your VA loan, a Veterans United Specialist is ready to help you with the VA loan process. Get started today or talk with a specialist at 855-870-8845.
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