The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that veterans and active-duty military personnel with service-connected amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are now presumed medically eligible for grants up to almost $68,000 to adapt their homes.

In a news release from the VA, secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki, states, “This change will make it easier for some of our most severely impaired veterans to receive speedy assistance adapting their homes to their unique needs.”

The release notes that the change impacts recipients of VA’s specially adapted housing grants, which are designed to help pay for the costs for building, buying, or adapting a home, up to maximum of $67,555. Under the change, the release adds, veterans and service members with service-connected ALS will be determined medically eligible for the maximum grant. The VA adds that grants are also available to assist eligible individuals in purchasing adapted homes or pay down mortgages on homes that are already adapted. According to the VA, it estimates that the change will save approximately 12 months in the overall process of a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant.

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Allison A. Hickey, under secretary for Benefits, explains that the change automates and shortens the SAH grant delivery process for veterans and service members living with ALS. Hickey calls SAH, “an important benefit giving beneficiaries the ability to adapt their homes and create a barrier free living environment—expanding their independence in their own homes.”

The release reports that the VA adapted its rules so veterans with service-connected ALS no longer have to file multiple claims with VA for increased benefits as their condition progresses. Before the new SAH regulatory change, many veterans and service members who were rated by VA for service-connected ALS, yet did not yet have symptoms debilitating enough to impact their mobility to the degree required for SAH grant edibility, were unable to begin the process of modifying their homes to accommodate their often rapidly progressing conditions.

Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs