The Home Improvement and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant is one of the most utilized grants through the Veteran’s Administration. This is a lifetime benefit that follows the Veteran, which means you or your loved one will only receive it once and once you use the grant; it’s gone, the Veteran will not qualify for it again at any other VA in the country. A Veteran can be qualified for up to a $6,800.00 for those who have a service connected condition or who have a non-service connected condition rated at 50% or more service connected, or up to $2000.00 for Veteran’s who have a non-service connected condition. In addition to the grant amount, there are also speculations on what the grant can and cannot be used for; bottom line is that you want to make sure you are using the grant to get the most out of the grant.
In general, the HISA grant will cover most medically necessary improvements to the Veteran’s primary residence. Some of the most frequent applications we see is widening door frames and walk-in showers. When door frames are widened, they are can be any door in the home, front door, back doors, bedroom, or bathroom doors – any doorway that the Veteran isn’t able to safely enter and exit. Walk-in showers are often done as well, typically the primary bathroom to allow for safe entry and use of the facilities. However, you aren’t limited to these areas of improvement, the HISA Grant can also be utilized for accessibility to the kitchen and counters, for plumbing or electrical work that is necessary for the installation of other home medical equipment, or improvements to the home with permanent ramping.
What the HISA Grant will not cover is walkways to exterior buildings, such as from the rear patio to a storage building, a spa, hot tub or jacuzzi, exterior decking or new constructions. It also will not cover anything that is considered to be a temporary or removable equipment such as home security systems, portable ramps, stair glides or porch lifts. It also isn’t going to cover any routine repairs. I know it sounds like the HISA grant has more exclusions that inclusions but here is the catch; most of the things that the HISA grant does not cover, if qualified, will be covered through your local Veteran Administration Prosthetic Department.
When doing HISA work at your home a lot of contractors will try to max our your grant in a single project by including items that Prosthetics will provide, such as when doing a shower remodel, they will tell you that they have to provide you with grab bars. Or when you are doing replacing your flooring, they will tell you that you need ramps. This is a misuse of your HISA grant because Prosthetics will provide both, without using up any of the funds from your HISA grant, which means you can use those extra funds for a different home improvement. You are not obligated to use your HISA grant on these additional items and I strongly recommend not.
Below is the VA link for additional information, including the roadmap to HISA which provides a step by step break down from start to finish. If you have any additional questions we are always available to help!