The Best Financial Assistance Options for Home Modifications for Aging in Place

If you are looking to make modifications to your home or that of a loved one it may cost you on average $6,226 (national average). This price can include installing a wheelchair lift or adding handrails throughout the home. And if you need to make additional home modifications the cost will continue to rise. To help offset these costs, we’ve provided a list of the best possible financial assistance options from federal, state and local resources.

What are Common Types of Home Modifications for Aging in Place?

If you are considering financial help for your home alteration, consider the common types of home modifications including:

  • Step-free entrances (ramps)
  • Widening doorways and entrances
  • Updating bathrooms with hand rails or walk-in tubs
  • Flooring adaptations
  • Installing stair lifts and other features
  • Upgrading lighting, appliances and other fixtures

Home Modification Financial Assistance Resources
Listed below are commonly found financial assistance options that may be able to support your needs. Consider what changes you need to make and for what purpose (i.e. medical reasons) – then research each option below:

Area Agency on Aging

Contact your county’s Area Agency on Aging to find out about home modification and repair funds provided by the Older Americans Act. Grants may also be available through other local government programs. Check with the city or county housing or community development department.

National Council of State Housing Agencies
The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) Housing Finance Agencies (HFA) offer individuals and families several different types of support. Their website provides a tool for locating available offices and organizations in your state that may be able to provide you with the assistance you seek.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers grants to assist you in paying for medical equipment and home modifications. The VA offers the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant, the Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant, and the Home Improvement and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant.

National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modifications
The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification provides a state directory for finding a broad range of local resources for home modification financial aid. The organization’s website also offers helpful links and articles for those who have questions about building or restructuring an accommodating home.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
The Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Recipients must be 62 years or older and from low-income households. Funds may be used to modify existing residences, or can be used to install new home features that create safer living quarters for residents. State offices of the USDA also offer assistance at local levels, and some have broader eligibility requirements.

Tax Credits for Home Modifications
The IRS allows you to deduct some equipment and accessible home modifications as medical expenses if the modifications alone, or in combination with your other unreimbursed medical expenses, exceed a set percentage of your adjusted gross income for the year – and you are paying for them out of your own personal savings account (not a health savings account).

Before committing to any home modifications research the available resources in your area based on your circumstances – starting with the list above. You may be able to find multiple financial assistance options saving you potentially thousands of dollars.