How can I pay for Home Modifications?
Many minor home modifications and repairs can be done for about $150-$2,000. For bigger projects, some financing options may be available. For instance, many home remodeling contractors offer reduced rates and charge sliding-scale fees based on a senior’s income and ability to pay or the homeowner may be able to obtain a modest loan to cover urgent needs. Other possible sources of public and private financial assistance include the following:
* Home modification and repair funds from Title III of the Older Americans Act-These funds are distributed by your local area agency on aging (AAA). To contact your local AAA, call the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116) or visit the Eldercare Locator website at www.eldercare.gov
* Rebuilding Together, Inc., a national volunteer organization, through its local affiliates, is able to assist some low-income seniors with home modification efforts. To obtain more information contact your local area agency on aging or contact Rebuilding Together at 1-800-4-REHAB-9 of visit the website at: http://rebuildingtogether.org/home_modifications
* Investment capital from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)-Both of these programs are run by local energy and social services departments.
* Medicare and Medicaid funds-Although these programs usually cover only items that are used for medical purposes and ordered by a doctor, some types of home modifications may qualify. To find out if Medicare will help to cover the cost of a home modification ordered by a doctor, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227 or
* TTY/TDD 1-877-486-2048). You can also find answers to your questions by visiting the website at http://www.medicare.gov/ on the Internet.
* Community development block grants-Many cities and towns make grant funds available through the local department of community development.
* Home equity conversion mortgages-Local banks may allow a homeowner to borrow money against the value of his or her home and pay for needed improvements. The homeowner then repays the loan as part or his or her regular mortgage.
* In fact, your local AAA can tell you more about whether you are eligible for any of these forms of financial aid or refer you to the agency that can answer your questions.
* Seniors may also choose to bypass public assistance programs and hire a contractor to do their home modifications or even do the job by him or herself. Keep in mind these points if you want to have a professional contractor come into your home to work on a large project:
* Ask for a written agreement that includes only a small down payment and specifies exactly what work will be done and how much it will cost (with the balance of payment to be made when the job is finished).
* Check with your local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce to see if any complaints have been filed against the contractor.
* Make sure that the contractor has insurance and is licensed to do the work required.
* Talk with your family and friends to get recommendations based on their experiences with the contractors they have hired. This step may actually be the most important one; because contractors with a good reputation can usually be counted on to do a good job.
* The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modifications has a guide with useful information on home modification resources across the country. Go to the center’s website at http://www.homemods.org and click on the link to “The National Directory of Home Modification and Repair Programs” for a listing of what is available in the state where you live.
Where can I learn more
For more information
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Source: Administration on Aging, www.aoa.gov
Provided by: The Staff at www.RetirementConnection.com
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