Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grants

In this article...
  • VA Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grants help disabled vets fund home modifications. Learn what HISA grants cover and how to apply for aid.

Administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grants help disabled vets and service members fund home modifications that can improve accessibility. In this article, you’ll learn what modifications HISA grants cover, how much funding they provide and how to apply for this aid.

What Are Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grants?

Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grants provide funding to disabled veterans and service members to help finance medically necessary home modifications. This VA benefit, which may only be used to modify the recipient’s primary residence, can be used for the following purposes:

  • Entrance and exit accessibility: HISA grants may be used to make a home's entrances and exits more accessible by widening doorways or eliminating stairs.
  • Bathroom and kitchen accessibility: Bathroom and kitchen modifications designed to improve accessibility may include widening entrances, installing handrails or roll-in showers, and lowering countertops and sinks so they can be reached from a wheelchair.
  • Outdoor accessibility: Grant funds may be used to add permanent ramps to driveways and paths adjacent to the recipient's primary residence.
  • Plumbing and electrical modifications: HISA financing may be used to update or modify plumbing or electrical systems as needed to accommodate home medical equipment and other adaptive devices.

Veterans who rent their primary residence may use HISA funds to modify the structure, as long as they get written approval from the landlord or property management company.

HISA grants don’t typically pay for removable equipment such as stair glides and porch lifts, modifications to and around exterior buildings or decks or the construction of a new residence. The grant also doesn’t pay for routine household repairs.  

How Much Funding Do Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grants Provide?

The amount of funding a grantee can receive depends, in part, on how the disability occurred. Veterans whose condition is considered to be at least 50% related to their military service may receive a lifetime benefit of up to $6,800. Benefits for veterans whose disabilities aren’t related to their service are currently capped at $2,000. If the cost of the project exceeds the lifetime benefits cap, the grant recipient must agree in advance to pay the balance of any costs incurred during the home modification.

Applicants completing minor or low-cost modifications may not receive the maximum benefit allowed. However, they may apply for additional funding at a later time, up to the lifetime cap.

What Is the Application Process for Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grants?

To apply for a HISA grant, you must submit a completed application package to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This package should include:

  • The completed and signed Veterans Application for Assistance in Acquiring Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (VA Form 10-0103). Make sure to indicate if you’ll require an advance payment for the work being performed.
  • A valid prescription from a VA physician, which includes the applicant’s identifying information, a diagnosis, the prescribed home alterations and a written medical justification for the modification(s).
  • A full-color photograph detailing the area or areas of the home that will be modified using funds from the HISA grant.
  • Itemized lists of required permits and inspections.
  • Itemized lists of required materials and labor costs.

If the applicant rents their primary residence, they must also submit notarized, written approval from the landlord or property management company authorizing the prescribed modifications.

In some cases, the VA may require an inspection of the property as part of the HISA application process. If an inspection is required, the applicant must be notified within 30 days of submitting the completed application package.

What Other Grants Are Available for Disabled Veterans?

In addition to HISA, several other grants are available to help disabled veterans and service members make essential home modifications. These are summarized below.

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grants

SAH grants are designed to help disabled veterans and service members construct or modify a house to meet their adaptive needs so they can move around freely. Applicants must have a service-related disability such as blindness, a severe burn injury or the loss of a limb.

To apply, eligible veterans and service members should fill out VA Form 26-4555 and return it by mail, or apply in person at a nearby VA loan center. The grant’s maximum award varies annually, based on the most current construction cost index.

Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grants

Veterans who have service-related injuries such as severe burns, respiratory ailments or the loss of both hands may qualify for the VA’s SHA grant. Funds may be used toward home improvements that help a veteran increase their mobility at home or may be applied to the purchase of a previously modified house.  

To apply, eligible veterans and service members should fill out VA Form 26-4555 and return it by mail, or apply in person at a nearby VA loan center. The grant’s maximum award varies annually, based on the most current construction cost index.

Temporary Residence Adaption Grants

Temporary SAH and SHA grants are also available to disabled veterans who are living with relatives and need financing to fund adaptive changes to a family member’s home for better accessibility. 

To apply, eligible veterans and service members should fill out VA Form 26-4555 and return it by mail, or apply in person at a nearby VA loan center. 

Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Grants

VR&E grants are intended to increase the independence of veterans and service members who are currently unable to work due to service-related conditions. Modifications may be integral to an approved rehabilitation plan or help grant recipients achieve vocational goals.

Application for VR&E grants may be completed online. 

What Other Care Options Are Available to Disabled Veterans?

Yes, veterans who require additional assistance with the activities of daily living may qualify for the Veteran-Directed Care (VDC) Program. Through VDC, veterans may hire in-home caregivers to assist them with personal care tasks such as bathing, dressing and meal preparation.

Veterans who need additional care may qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance Program, which helps finance skilled nursing, assisted living and adult daycare programs. 

Is Help Available When Applying for VA Grants?

The application process for VA grants can be difficult to navigate. VA benefits offices, which are often located at VA clinics and medical centers, have counselors available to help veterans and service members apply for grants and other benefits. Visit the VA’s online location finder to locate help in your area.