Veterans like Jason Pepper, who lost his eyes in combat in Iraq, and his wife Heather, could benefit from special home adaptation grants.
The VA adopted a final rule effective Oct. 25 that will expand eligibility for specially adapted housing and special home adaptation grants for permanently and totally disabled veterans and armed service members.
The new rule makes both types of grants available to those who suffered extensive burns limiting movement of two or more limbs or at least one limb and the trunk. It also makes special home adaptation grants available to permanently and totally disabled veterans and service members who lose or lose use of both hands, those with severe burns and those with inhalation injuries.
“The new regulations will allow our most severely disabled veterans and service members to obtain the adaptive house and home adaptations necessary for them to continue to live normal lives in their own homes,” said Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman. “The rules are mostly the result of congressional changes in the law over the past few years, but it will mean our veterans will be able to live better lives in homes adapted for their disabilities.”
The rule would allow special adapted house grants of as much as 50 percent of the cost of a new home up to approximately $64,000 for permanently and totally disabled veterans with burns that limit their range of motion in two or more limbs or one limb and the trunk of the body.
It also adds members of the armed services on active duty to be eligible for both types of grants.
Special home adaptation grants of as much as approximately $13,000 would be available to permanently and totally disabled veterans with the loss or loss of use of both hands, deep burns that limit motion and residuals of an inhalation injury including, but not limited to, pulmonary fibrosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“The regulation allowing active duty service members to obtain the grants shows the wisdom of allowing these permanently and totally disabled service members to proceed to build or modify homes while they are still in the service,” Gorman said. “It means that when they are released from military care they can move immediately into their specially adapted home.”
“The inclusion of inhalation injuries that are permanent and total disabilities could open the door for veterans suffering from respiratory injuries associated with events during the Gulf War and those suffering permanent and total disability caused by injuries from burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.
“We feel the changes in this final rule are good for this special class of veterans who have sacrificed for our nation,” said Gorman. “We cannot ask our veterans to make the sacrifices that leave them unable to function in their own home. The VA has made some very wise decisions on behalf of our veterans.”