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How Do I Pay for Accessible Home Modifications?

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Living in a house that doesn't allow you to do the most basic of tasks is not ideal. For many individuals, the idea of home modifications is not on their radar. They may be too young, or they might not have had any experience with accessibility challenges. As people live longer, it can become harder to stay in their homes without adjusting for disabilities. Should you need your home modified for an accessible challenge, you may wonder how you can pay for home modifications. Fortunately, there are several funding options available, including home modification grants, insurance programs, and loans specifically designed to facilitate accessible living environments. By understanding the variety of financial support available, individuals and their families can take decisive steps toward creating a more accessible and comfortable home.

Understanding Your Options

There are alternatives to financial aid for modifying your home. From government assistance and insurance benefits to specialized grants, read more about these solutions to make your home a safer, more accessible haven.

Government Assistance Programs

Can I use Medicare Part B to cover accessible home modifications?

If an individual is eligible for original Medicare, review their Medicare Part B benefits coverage. Medicare Part B includes financial assistance for durable medical equipment (DME), including patient lifts, commode chairs, and other assistive solutions. An eligible beneficiary will typically pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the equipment, and Medicare Part B covers the other 80%.

Though Medicare Part B does not directly cover home modifications, the program reduces out-of-pocket expenses for an eligible member through coverage of additional goods and services.

Medicaid: Does Medicaid cover accessible home modifications?

If an individual is eligible for Medicaid, depending on the state’s Medicaid system, they may qualify for home modification waivers (HCBS waiver). These waivers enable the elderly and/or individuals with disability to remain living at home. Some state programs pay for home modifications (structural alterations), adaptive equipment (shower chairs etc.), and assistive technology (devices & technology). Each state differs in the amount of cost that is covered.

For example, in the state of Louisiana, through their Community Choices Waiver, eligible members can receive home modifications (e.g. modify bathrooms. wheelchair ramps, and other accessibility adaptations) to aid them to live independently.

Please review your state’s Medicaid HCBS waiver to determine your eligibility and assistance level.

Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefits

If you signed up for a Medicare Advantage health plan, contact your broker or the health insurance companies’ member service department and ask if home modifications are covered through the Part C supplemental benefit coverage.

Does Medicare Cover Home Modifications?

Beginning in 2019, some Medicare Advantage health plans have begun covering home modifications as an evolution from in-home support services. The benefit normally includes either a $0 copay for equipment purchases or an allowance that goes to the total cost of the project. 

Grants for Special Populations

Depending on your state, individual organizations aid people with disabilities, older adults, and veterans with home modifications projects to improve accessibility:

Home Modifications Grants for Disabled Veterans

  • Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH): Helps veterans find a home or fund changes to a home that can accommodate a disability. For veterans who have a service-related disability, this extra funding can be critical in creating an independent living environment.
  • Special Housing Adaptation Grant (SHA): A SHA grant can help with housing costs related to accessibility. Veterans with service-related disabilities can use SHA grant funds to alter an existing residence, update a new home, or help purchase an already-adapted home.
  • HISA Grant:  Helps medically necessary home improvements for veterans: wheelchair-accessible ramps, lowering sinks and counters, and widening entrances and pathways.

Grants for Seniors

Tax Deductions and Credits

If any home modifications for medical care are made with out-of-pocket funds, we strongly recommend saving the records for when you file your taxes. This is something many individuals fail to do. Many medical home improvements can be deducted from your taxes, such as:

  • Door Hardware
  • Handrails And Grab Bars
  • Patient Lifts
  • Stairway Modifications
  • Ramps
  • Wheelchair-Friendly Doorways & Hallways
  • Accessible Kitchen/ Bathroom Mods
  • Disability-Friendly Home Security Systems

Pro Tip: Bundle the home modifications into a single tax year, if possible. This maximizes the tax deduction as this is a threshold-based deduction.

Rights and Options for Renters

According to the Fair Housing Act, any person with disabilities who rents a residential dwelling is entitled to reasonable accommodation by their landlord. Housing providers cannot require people with disabilities to pay extra fees or deposits as a condition of receiving a reasonable accommodation.

In addition to paying for home modifications, individuals with disabilities can access services and programs to offset the financial cost of renting:

When it comes to negotiating home modifications with landlords, approaching the conversation with clarity and understanding can make all the difference. Here's some advice to help navigate these discussions:

  • Familiarize yourself with the Fair Housing Act's stipulations on reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. This knowledge equips you to present your request confidently and informatively.
  • Compile a clear, concise explanation of the modifications needed, how they'll be accomplished, and why they're necessary for your daily living. Including a letter from a healthcare provider can strengthen your case by highlighting the medical necessity of the requested changes.
  • Present a plan that outlines potential modifications, costs, and how the modifications could be carried out. You might also research and suggest contractors who specialize in accessible home modifications.
  • Highlight how the modifications can benefit both parties. For example, improvements could increase the property's value and appeal, making it more marketable to future tenants.
  • If possible, propose a cost-sharing arrangement. Some landlords might be willing to cover a portion of the expenses, especially if the modifications will enhance the property's value.
  • Once you and your landlord have reached an agreement, ensure all details are documented in writing. This agreement should specify the modifications to be made, the timeline for completion, and any cost-sharing arrangements.

Additional Funding Sources

Beyond grants, loans, and insurance, the power of community and innovation opens up avenues that can significantly ease the financial burden of home modifications.

Crowdfunding has emerged as a powerful tool for raising funds, tapping into the collective support of friends, family, and even strangers moved by your story. Platforms like GoFundMe allow individuals to share their needs and goals with a wide audience, providing a space for solidarity and assistance from those who understand the importance of accessibility and independence. Crafting a compelling narrative about your or your loved one's journey can inspire generosity and support from a community eager to help.

Local non-profits and community organizations often have resources or programs specifically designed to assist residents in need of home modifications. These organizations might offer financial assistance, labor, or materials to help make homes more accessible. Engaging with local disability advocacy groups, area agencies on aging, or community development corporations can provide insights into available resources you might not have discovered otherwise.

Additionally, some local businesses and service clubs are committed to giving back to their communities and may offer support through donations or volunteer work. Reaching out to these entities with a well-defined plan for your home modification project can sometimes lead to unexpected partnerships and support.

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