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Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

From the Veteran Files: Finding More Help through the VA System

Home Improvement and Structural Alterations Program (HISA)

Under the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) program, veterans with service-connected disabilities or veterans with nonservice-connected disabilities may receive assistance for any home improvement necessary in order to accommodate disability in the home. As a general rule these grants are typically provided to veterans who are receiving VA health care and who are service-connected disabled. Certain service-connected disabled veterans can receive a lifetime benefit of $4,200 for home improvement projects to aid with disability.

A clause in the eligibility statutes opens the door for veterans who are on Medicaid or receiving pension with aid and attendance or housebound ratings (commonly referred to as the VA Benefit for Aid & Attendance) to also receive these grants. Also very low income -- means tested veterans -- may also receive the grant.

Although they are reluctant to provide these grants to veterans who are not in the health-care system, the medical center HISA committee will do so if adequate documentation is provided to justify the grant.

Examples of what HISA WILL pay for:

* Allowing entrance or exit from veteran's home
* Improving access for use of essential lavatory and sanitary facilities
* Improving access to kitchen and bathroom counters
* Handrails
* Lowered Electrical outlets and switches
* Improving paths or driveways
*Improving plumbing/electrical work for dialysis patients

Examples of what HISA WILL NOT pay for:

* Walkways to exterior buildings
* Widening of driveways (in excess of a 7ft x 6ft area)
* Spa, hot tub or Jacuzzi
* Exterior decking (in excess of 8ft x 8ft)

The HISA program is available for both service-connected veterans and nonservice-connected veterans.

* Home improvement benefits up to $4,100 may be provided to service-connected veterans.
* Home improvement benefits up to $1,200 may be provided to nonservice-connected veterans.

To learn more, visit www.va.gov

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