Home Improvements & Structural Alterations
Veterans Affairs (VA) provides up to $4,100 lifetime benefit for service-connected veterans and up to $1,200 for non-service-connected veterans to make home improvements necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to the home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities. Home Improvement and Structural Alterations grants provide for medically necessary improvements and/or structural changes to the Veteran’s residence for the following purposes:
- Allowing entrance to, or exit from, the Veteran’s residence
- Use of essential lavatory and sanitary facilities
- Allowing accessibility to kitchen or bathroom sinks or counters
- Improving entrance paths or driveways in immediate area of the home to facilitate access to the home by the Veteran
- Improving plumbing or electrical systems made necessary due to installation of dialysis equipment in the home. For application information, contact the prosthetic representative at the nearest VA health care facility.
Specially Adapted Housing Grants
Certain veterans and servicemembers with service-connected disabilities may be entitled to a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant from VA to help build a new specially adapted house, to adapt a home they already own, or buy a house and modify it to meet their disability-related requirements. Eligible veterans or servicemembers may now receive up to three grants, with the total dollar amount of the grants not to exceed the maximum allowable. Previous grant recipients who had received assistance of less than the current maximum allowable may be eligible for an additional SAH grant. For more information on the use of such grants, contact Brian Bixler, Specially Adapted Housing, at 202-461-9546 or via email.
Veterans and servicemembers with available loan guaranty entitlement may also obtain a guaranteed loan or a direct loan from VA to supplement the grant to acquire a specially adapted home. Amounts with a guaranteed loan from a private lender will vary, but the maximum direct loan from VA is $33,000.
Additional information about the Specially Adapted Housing Program is available on the Veterans Affairs website.
VA home loan guaranties are issued to help eligible servicemembers, veterans, reservists and unmarried surviving spouses obtain homes, condominiums, residential cooperative housing units, and manufactured homes, and to refinance loans. For additional information or to obtain VA loan guaranty forms, visit the Home Loans website.
A VA guaranty helps protect lenders from loss if the borrower fails to repay the loan. It can be used to obtain a loan to:
- Buy or build a home
- Buy a residential condominium unit
- Buy a residential cooperative housing unit
- Repair, alter, or improve a residence owned by the veteran and occupied as a home
- Refinance an existing home loan
- Buy a manufactured home and / or lot
- Install a solar heating or cooling system or other energy efficient improvements
For purchase home loans, payment in cash is required on all closing costs, including title search and recording fees, hazard insurance premiums and prepaid taxes. For refinancing loans, all such costs may be included in the loan, as long as the total loan does not exceed the reasonable value of the property. Interest rate reduction loans may include closing costs, including a maximum of two discount points. All veterans, except those receiving VA disability compensation, those who are rated by VA as eligible to receive compensation as a result of pre-discharge disability examination and rating, and unmarried surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or as a result of a service-connected disability, are charged a VA funding fee. For all types of loans, the loan amount may include this funding fee.
To qualify for a VA home loan, a veteran or the spouse of an active duty servicemember must certify that he or she intends to occupy the home. When refinancing a VA-guaranteed loan solely to reduce the interest rate, a veteran need only certify to prior occupancy.
VA Assistance to Veterans in Default
When a veteran’s home loan becomes delinquent, the veteran should contact the lender as soon as possible to explain what caused the missed payments, and discuss how they can be repaid. Depending on a veteran’s situation, the lender may offer any of the following options to avoid foreclosure:
- Repayment Plan: make a regular payment each month plus part of the late payments.
- Forbearance: lender temporarily suspends payments to allow veteran time to accumulate funds to reinstate the loan or sell the property.
- Loan Modification: lender provides a fresh start by adding delinquency to the loan balance, and establishing a new payment schedule.
- Compromise Sale / Short Sale: lender approves a sale of the home for less than what is needed to pay off the loan. The remainder is written off and/or paid by VA guaranty.
- Deed-in-Lieu-of Foreclosure: lender accepts a deed to the property instead of going through a lengthy foreclosure process.
VA Acquires Property Foreclosures
VA acquires properties as a result of foreclosures. A private contractor is currently marketing the properties through listing agents using local Multiple Listing Services. Contact a real estate agent for information on purchasing a VA-acquired property.
Loans for Native American Veterans
Eligible Native American veterans can obtain a loan from VA to purchase, construct, or improve a home on Federal Trust Land, or to reduce the interest rate on such a VA loan. Native American Direct Loans are only available if a memorandum of understanding exists between the tribal organization and VA. Veterans who are not Native American, but who are married to Native American non-veterans, may be eligible for a direct loan under this program. To be eligible for such a loan, the qualified non-Native American veteran and the Native American spouse must reside on Federal Trust Land, and both the veteran and spouse must have a meaningful interest in the dwelling or lot.