How to Apply for VA Specially Adapted Housing Grants: Step-by-Step Guide

What Is the VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant and How Do I Sign Up?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a range of benefits to support veterans with disabilities. Among these is the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant, designed to help veterans with certain service-connected disabilities live independently in a barrier-free environment. If you’re a veteran with a qualifying disability, this grant can be invaluable. This article will guide you through the step-by-step process of applying for VA Specially Adapted Housing Grants.

Understanding the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

Before diving into the application process, it’s crucial to understand what the SAH Grant entails. The SAH Grant provides financial assistance to eligible veterans and service members to construct or modify a home to accommodate their disability. The grant amount varies annually, but as of my last update, it was around $100,000.

Benefit Eligibility Criteria

Not all veterans with disabilities qualify for the SAH Grant. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Service-Connected Disability: You must have a qualifying service-connected disability. This means your disability must be directly related to your military service.
  2. Permanent and Total Disability: The disability must be permanent and total, meaning it has been determined by the VA to be 100% disabling.
  3. Housing Needs: You must have a specific housing need, such as the inability to live without special features in your home due to your disability.

Step-by-Step Guide to Apply for VA Specially Adapted Housing Grants

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Before applying, ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria mentioned above. You may need to consult with your VA counselor or medical professional to confirm your disability rating and its permanence.

Step 2: Obtain a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

To apply for the SAH Grant, you’ll need a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You can obtain this by submitting VA Form 26-4555, Application in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation Grant, to your nearest VA Regional Loan Center.

Step 3: Choose Your Home

Once you have your COE, you can start looking for a home or lot where you plan to build. The home or lot must meet VA’s minimum property requirements. If you plan to modify an existing home, it must be owned by you or will be owned by you upon the completion of modifications.

Step 4: Find a Registered Builder or Contractor

If you’re building a new home or making substantial modifications, you’ll need to hire a registered builder or contractor approved by the VA. Ensure they are familiar with VA’s SAH requirements to ensure compliance with the grant.

Step 5: Submit Plans and Cost Estimates

Before receiving the grant, the VA requires detailed plans and cost estimates for the proposed modifications or construction. Your builder or contractor can assist you in preparing these documents. Submit them to the VA for approval.

Step 6: Apply for the SAH Grant

Once you have all the necessary documents, you can officially apply for the SAH Grant by submitting VA Form 26-4555 along with the required supporting documents to your nearest VA Regional Loan Center.

Step 7: Await Approval

After submitting your application, the VA will review it to ensure all requirements are met. This process may take several weeks to months. Once approved, the grant funds will be disbursed directly to you or your builder/contractor, depending on your agreement.

Step 8: Start Construction or Modifications

Upon receiving the grant funds, you can begin the construction or modifications as planned. Ensure regular communication with your builder or contractor to monitor progress and ensure compliance with VA’s SAH requirements.

Step 9: Final Inspection and Occupancy

After completion of the construction or modifications, the VA will conduct a final inspection to ensure everything meets the SAH standards. Once approved, you can move into your specially adapted home.

Additional Tips

  • Consult with a VA Counselor: Before starting the application process, consult with a VA counselor to understand the full range of benefits available to you and ensure you’re taking advantage of all opportunities.
  • Keep Records: Maintain copies of all documents submitted and received throughout the application process. This will be helpful for reference and potential future needs.
  • Stay Informed: VA policies and requirements may change over time. Stay informed by visiting the official VA website or contacting your local VA office for updates.

Maintaining Your Specially Adapted Home

Once you’ve moved into your specially adapted home, it’s essential to maintain it properly to ensure its longevity and your safety. Regular maintenance can prevent potential hazards and ensure that all adaptations continue to meet your needs as your disability evolves over time.

Regular Inspections

Schedule regular inspections of your home’s accessibility features, such as ramps, handrails, and bathroom modifications. Over time, wear and tear or changes in your mobility may require adjustments or repairs to maintain safety and functionality.

Accessibility Updates

As your needs change, consider updating or adding new accessibility features to your home. Consult with occupational therapists or accessibility experts to identify potential modifications that can enhance your independence and quality of life.

Safety Measures

In addition to accessibility features, implement general safety measures to prevent accidents and injuries. This may include installing smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and emergency alert systems tailored to your specific needs.

Understanding the SAH Grant’s Disbursement Process

It’s crucial to understand how the SAH Grant funds are disbursed to manage your budget effectively during the construction or modification process.

Direct Disbursement to Contractors

In most cases, the SAH Grant funds are disbursed directly to the registered builder or contractor responsible for the construction or modifications. This ensures that the funds are used solely for the intended purpose and in compliance with VA’s SAH requirements.

Reimbursement Process

If you choose to pay for the construction or modifications upfront and seek reimbursement later, ensure you keep detailed records of all expenses, including invoices, receipts, and proof of payments. Submit these documents to the VA for reimbursement after the final inspection and approval of the completed work.

Partial Disbursements

For larger projects that require phased construction, the VA may approve partial disbursements at different stages of the project. Work closely with your builder or contractor to coordinate disbursements based on project milestones and ensure a smooth construction process.

Appealing a Denied SAH Grant Application

If your SAH Grant application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. Understanding the appeals process can help you navigate this challenging situation and potentially overturn the denial.

Review the Denial Letter

Carefully review the denial letter to understand the reasons for the denial and any additional information or documentation required to support your application.

Consult with a VA Counselor

Seek guidance from a VA counselor or veterans service organization (VSO) to understand your appeal options and develop a strong case to support your claim. They can provide valuable insights into the appeals process and help you gather the necessary evidence to strengthen your application.

Submit an Appeal

To appeal a denied SAH Grant application, you must submit VA Form 26-1880, Request for A Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits, along with any additional supporting documents and a written statement explaining why you believe the denial was incorrect.

Await the Appeals Decision

After submitting your appeal, the VA will review your case and make a decision based on the provided evidence and documentation. This process may take several months, so it’s essential to remain patient and stay informed about the status of your appeal.


The VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant is a vital resource for veterans with service-connected disabilities, providing financial assistance to help them live independently in a barrier-free environment. While the application process may seem daunting, following this step-by-step guide can make it more manageable. Remember, the VA is there to support you, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance throughout the process.

Thrive Homes is proud to offer home modification services to Veterans in the greater Kansas City Area. If you are a veteran with a qualifying service-connected disability, you may be eligible to receive a grant for Specially Adapted Housing if you’re using the grant money to modify your permanent home (a home you plan to live in for a long time) and you meet certain requirements (you can refer to for more details). Call us today for more information!