Finding financial assistance for improvements in aging in place



Dear Savvy Senior: Do you know of any financial aid programs that can help seniors with home improvement projects? I would love to help my grandparents make some modifications to their house so that they can continue to live there safely, but money is tight. – Looking for grandson

Dear research: Yes! There are a number of financial aid programs that can help seniors make home modifications and aging in place improvement projects, but what is available for your grandparents will depend on their financial situation. and where they live. Here are different options to explore.

Medicare Advantage: Although the original Medicare generally does not pay for home renovations if your grandparents are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, it can offer help with changes as needed. Contact their Medicare Advantage provider to see if this is available.

Medicaid exemptions: If your grandparents are low-income and eligible for Medicaid, most states have Medicaid Home and Community Based Services exemptions that provide financial assistance to help seniors avoid retirement homes and stay home. House. Each state has different exemptions, eligibility conditions and benefits. Contact your Medicaid office (see for more information.

Non-Medicaid government assistance: Many state governments and several agencies within the federal government have programs that help low to moderate income seniors who are not eligible for Medicaid with home modifications. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development offers HUD home improvement loans through private lenders. Contact a HUD-approved counseling agency (call 800-569-4287) to find out more.

And the US Department of Agriculture has a rural development program that offers grants and loans to rural homeowners. Your local USDA service center (see can give you more information.

Many states also have financial assistance programs known as nursing home diversion programs. These programs, which may include grants or loans, or a combination, help pay for modifications that allow seniors and people with disabilities to stay at home. Modifications covered typically include accessibility improvements such as wheelchair ramps, handrails and grab bars.

To find out if there are any programs in your grandparents’ area, contact the city or county housing authority, the local area aging agency (800-677-1116) or the agency. State Housing Funding – see

Veterans benefits: If one of your grandparents is a disabled veteran, the VA provides grants such as the SAH, SHA, and HISA grants that will pay for the home modifications. See for more details and eligibility requirements.

Other VA programs to inquire about are the “Veteran-Led Care” and “Home Help and Assistance or Benefits” program. Both programs provide monthly financial benefits to qualifying veterans who can help pay for home modifications. To learn more, visit or call 800-827-1000.

Non-profit associations: Depending on where your grandparents live, they may also get help in the form of financial aid or volunteer work to help with the modifications. One of the most notable is the Rebuilding Together organization (, 800-473-4229), which offers three programs: Safe at Home, Heroes at Home, and National Rebuilding Day.

Another option is community development projects, which provide older people with volunteer work to help them make improvements to their homes. To find projects in your grandparents’ area, do a web search that contains the phrase “community building project” followed by their “city and state.”

Reverse mortgage: Available to people aged 62 and over who own and currently live in their own home, a reverse mortgage will allow your grandparents to convert some of their home equity into cash – which can be used for home improvements – which don’t have to be paid back while they live there. But reverse mortgages are expensive loans, so it should be a last resort.

For more information on these and other financial aid programs, go to and click on “Senior Care” followed by “Home Modifications”.

Send your questions to seniors to: Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of the book “The Savvy Senior”.


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