Did you know that there’s more to the VA home loan than just the loan guaranty? In fact, the program has additional help for Veterans with serious, service-connected disabilities. One of those programs is the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) program.
SAH grants assistance to the most seriously disabled service members and Veterans to pay for life-changing and independence-enhancing modifications and adaptations to their homes and residences. New changes to the laws that govern the administration of the SAH program offer an even greater opportunity for VA to fund these adaptations.
SAH grants are allocated by VA to very seriously disabled Veterans or service members who meet narrow eligibility criteria for funding to adapt their homes to accommodate their special needs.
There are three adapted housing grant types: Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant, the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant, and Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA). Each grant type has different criteria for determining eligibility for the grant award. Eligibility criteria for these grants can be found here.
In August 2020, Public Law 116-154, the “Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act of 2019” was enacted. This law makes significant changes to the SAH grant program and enhances access to important funding for Veterans with serious and very specific service-connected disabilities.
Changes to the SAH program under PL 116-154 include:
- Veterans rated with a service-connected blindness disability – without a loss, or loss of use of a lower extremity – are now eligible for the SAH grant. Statute now reflects that all SAH-qualifying disabilities must be permanent. These changes became effective August 8, 2020.
- The lifetime grant usage is no longer limited to three uses for each individual. Eligible service members and Veterans are now able to use the grant a total of six times.
- VA is authorized to approve up to 120 grants per year, an increase from the previous statutory limit of 30 per fiscal year for Veterans and service members who experienced the loss or loss of use of one lower extremity after September 11, 2001.
- The aggregate limit amount for the SAH grant has been raised to $100,896, and the SHA grant has been increased to $20,215.
VA encourages all Veterans, as well as those who know of seriously disabled Veterans who may meet eligibility criteria for these specialized grants, to become familiar with the SAH grant program. VA is here to serve those who have served our country, and that is especially true for those who can benefit from the SAH program.
Key takeaways from the passage and signing of The Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act of 2019 (PL 116-154): https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/homeloans/SAHFactsheet.pdf
For more information about the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant program at VA, visit: https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/disability-housing-grants/.
For more information about the VA Home Loan Program, visit https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/home-loans/.
Jeffrey F. London is the director of the VA’s Loan Guaranty Service.