Home modifications might include wheelchair ramps, grab bars in bathrooms and hallways, widening doorways, stair lifts, walk-in tubs, removing safety hazards, or making other needed modifications.
Below is a list of programs that provide free or low-cost home modifications to people who have disabilities or chronic health problems. Some programs will also provide small home repairs needed for safety.
Am I Eligible?
Eligibility criteria will vary by program. When contacting places on this page, make sure to call all programs that say “senior” or “elderly” even if you are young. Many times these programs will also serve people with disabilities. You do not need to be on disability to qualify for most of these programs
Do I Need to Own The Home?
No. Most programs listed below are also available to renters. You will need to get your landlords permission to make the modification. Some programs require that you live in the house for one year before they will make any modifications. If your landlord does not wish to grant permission, you can make a reasonable accommodation request through the Fair Housing Act.
What Kind of Modifications Can I Get?
Home modifications some of our readers have found helpful: Examples of Home Modifications. The National MS Society also has a great booklet on Adapting Your Environment, including lots of tips and ideas if you are considering home modifications.
Finding Free Home Modifications
Be prepared to make a LOT of phone calls and be prepared to be told that nothing is possible or no programs exist in your area. Don’t lose hope. The more places you contact, the better your chances of finding something. Please comment below to let us know if any links on this page stop working.
Energy Efficient Improvements
Many areas have programs that provide free modifications to make homes more energy efficient. Programs vary by area, and some provide heat pumps, furnaces, windows, lights, and insulation.
- Programs that provide free energy efficiency home improvements.
- Programs that helps with power bills.
- More programs that help with power bills
- How I Got $18,000 in home improvements
Home Modification Programs
Directories of programs that offer free home modifications for people with disabilities:
- Rebuilding Together
- State Programs that pay for Home Modifications
- Grants for Home Modifications.
- Home Mods Directory
- Home Repair Grants
Call and ask if they offer or know about local programs that offer home modifications or repairs:
- Independent Living Center
- Eldercare Locator (call even if you are young)
- Area Agency on Aging (call even if you are young)
- State housing finance agency
- Volunteer programs such as churches, high schools, boy scouts, etc.
- 211.org (or dial 2-1-1 on your phone)
There are many types of funding available for veterans. Check out:
In some states, Medicaid Waiver programs will pay for home modifications (widening doorways, evening floors, wheelchair ramps, walk-in bathtubs, etc). Some will also pay for pest control.
- If you are disabled and in a Medicaid Waiver Home Aide Program, ask your caseworker for a list of other benefits available through the program.
- Here is a list of programs in 27 states: Medicaid Waiver programs that provide free home modifications
Stair Lifts and Walk-In Tubs
- Here’s an excellent guide to funding for walk-in tubs
- Here’s an excellent guide to funding for stair lifts
- If your home modifications will help you return to work or school, or continue going to work or school, you may be able to inquire about funding through a vocational rehabilitation agency.
- If you currently live in public housing, your landlord may be required to make home modifications if you make a disability accommodation request.
- A Social Worker or caseworker may be able to help you find services in your area: How to Get a Social Worker
- You can also consider moving to an apartment that doesn’t need modifications. HUD offers disability-accessible apartments that are very affordable. Many of our readers report finding nice and very affordable housing this way: How to Find Yourself a Nice, Affordable HUD Apartment
- Most health insurance will not pay for home modifications. But they will often pay for medical equipment in the home (wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, etc). How to Get Medical Equipment
See all programs listed above. In addition:
- If you are a homeowner, search for state-specific tax credits, rebates, and savings at http://energy.gov/savings. See Rose’s story below.
- Lenders may offer home equity conversion mortgages or reverse mortgages that allow homeowners to utilize home equity to pay for improvements. Learn more by visiting https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/home-equity/
- If you are low income and live in a rural area the USDA Home Repair Program may be able to provide up to $7,000 for home repairs
- Most areas provide discounts on property tax for people who are elderly or disabled. Contact your local tax assessors office.
- HUD offers loans for home modifications. You can also try contacting your local HUD office and asking if there are any grants for home modifications in your area. (grants do not have to be paid back, loans do)
- Some programs pay for furnace repairs or replacements.
If You Are Applying for Disability
- If you apply for a home modification, the program may do an assessment of your disability needs in your home. They may also ask for documentation or a form from your doctor. Any type of paperwork or assessment may be helpful for your disability case.
- It is a great idea to request and keep copies of everything that documents your disability needs and submit this to Social Security.
- Hint: It is better not to send anything to your local Social Security office – send it directly to the person or office who is currently handling your case.
Rose Gets Home Modification Tax Credits
My county offers a “Livable Homes Tax Credit” that reduces your property taxes by the amount you spend on home modifications for disabilities with a $2500/year limit.
It can include ramps, nonslip flooring, walk in showers, grab bars, different style door handles, etc. There is a whole list of eligible improvements.
There is a limit of $2,500 per year (you can do improvements in consecutive years to get the tax credit again if doing everything you want costs more than $2500, or do 2 or 3 smaller projects that add up to $2500 in the same year)
Please check to see if property tax credits are available where you live. When they originally introduced the credit, it was for 50% of the cost but they have since increased it to 100% of the cost (It is not an instant reimbursement since you have to apply by April 1 (with the improvement completed) for the credit to show up on your July property tax bill.
What Do You Think?
Updated July 2018. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.
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