Seniors – Improve Your Home With The Help Of These Grants

Senior citizens who need financial assistance for home improvement projects might feel as if their options are limited. Most seniors are on a fixed income. A fixed income includes pensions, Social Security Income (SSI), fixed income securities and several other types of income sources. While this might seem like a plentiful amount of incoming revenue options, most seniors are limited to one or two fixed income sources. Where can senior citizens turn to when their homes are in need of expensive repair jobs?

There are home improvement grants available specifically for seniors. There are also home improvement grants available to people of any age/demographic, including senior citizens. What types of home improvement grant programs are available for seniors? What is the process when applying for a home improvement grant? Read ahead for important information regarding home improvement grants for seniors and how to get the funding you need today.Senior couple outside home

Explaining the Difference Between Grants & Loans

Before pursuing grant-based funding it is important to understand the differences between grants and loans. Grants and loans both provide some or all of the money you need to help pay for your home improvement projects. Each type of funding has a different process and set of qualifying conditions for approval, however.

Loan

A loan is money borrowed from a commercial, private or other type of lender. This type of debt requires repayment over time. The amount of time allotted is referred to as a loan term. The amount of money borrowed is referred to as the principle loan amount. Repayment of the principle loan amount is most often made in the form of monthly installments over the course of the loan term. A finance charge, or interest in the form of an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is added to the amount owed. Both principle and interest are reduced with each consecutive payment until the full amount of money borrowed is repaid.

Grants

Most grant money does not require repayment. This is the main different between grants and loans. Grants are awarded to recipients based on numerous qualifying conditions. Qualifying for loans is largely dependent on credit ratings. Qualifying for grant money, however, is first-and-foremost dependent upon verifiable need. Some grants require awarded money to be used for strictly specific purposes. Recipients are only required to repay awarded grant money when they use or misuse the money for purposes other than those specified during the application process. Grants are funded by U.S. federal, and state organizations. Grants are also funded by private, religious and not-for-profit organizations.

Types of Home Improvement Grants for Seniors

Home improvement grant money is used to help with specific home improvement or repair-based needs. These grants are funded by various organizations ranging from government to private sector sources. Some home improvement grants are available for anyone meeting the qualification requirements. Others are available only for seniors. One such grant is the Rural Repair and Rehabilitation grant.

Rural Repair and Rehabilitation

The Rural Repair and Rehabilitation grant is awarded to senior homeowners ages sixty-two and older. This grant serves as alternate funding source for seniors ineligible to receive Rural Repair and Rehabilitation loans. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), this grant pays a maximum of $7,500 toward home improvement costs for seniors. The maximum Rural Repair and Rehabilitation loan amount is $20,000. Seniors who qualify for the loan program might also additionally qualify for the grant money. The loan and grant money is permitted to be combined for a maximum of $27,500 usable for home improvements. Qualification factors include being unable to receive credit/funding from another source and having a total household income less-than fifty percent of the average regional median income.

Department of Aging Home Improvements/Repairs Grants

The Department of Aging is neither a federal agency nor is it widely recognized as a source for home improvement grants for seniors. Many U.S. states have a Department or Office of Aging, however. These departments are collectively one of the best sources of home improvement grant funds for qualified seniors despite their lack of recognition. Each participating state’s department/office facilitates various grant and other funding/support programs. For example, the Maryland Department of Aging sponsors the Community for Life program, which funds grants to seniors ages 60+ for home safety assessments, home repair services and more. The California Department of Aging sponsors the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP), which provides funds for minor home repairs and improvements among many other things. Contact your participating Department/Office of Aging for more information about applicable grant funding in your state or using the locator resource provided by the PayingForSeniorCare website HERE.

Does Medicare Help Seniors with Home Improvement Money?

Medicare is the primary government-sponsored health care program for U.S. seniors. Does Medicare also help seniors with home improvement money? Medicare does not provide direct funding to seniors for home improvement expenses. It does help in other ways, however. Medicare policies regarding home improvement or repairs are rigid and strict. No items of convenience are approved. Your doctor might determine your home is not suitable to accommodate your mobility and other medical needs as an aging senior. He or she might subsequently order or prescribe certain household fixtures, repairs or improvements as a medically necessary upgrade to your home. Medicare approves coverage for minor home modifications and upgrades/installations for items such as seat lifts, support or walking rails, wider doorways (for wheelchair accessibility), wheelchair ramps and more on a case-by-case basis.

Additional Home Improvement Funding Sources for Seniors

There are additional home improvement funding sources for seniors. The U.S. Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps people experiencing financial hardship upgrade their homes to become more energy efficient. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program primarily helps pay for heating and energy bills. It also helps pay for home repairs/improvements related to improving energy efficiency and weatherization of your home. Similar to WAP, LIHEAP is designed to help individuals and households experiencing financing hardship, including seniors who cannot afford the cost of necessary qualified home improvements.

Hot Tips for Seniors Regarding Home Improvement Grants

There is no limit to how many grants a person receives. Qualifying for one grant does not disqualify you from being awarded another. Therefore it is highly advisable to apply for as many home improvement grants as are potentially available to you. Grant money is in high demand but has a generally low supply. This makes the grant application process competitive. Grants are also most often awarded on a needed-most basis. People experiencing more extreme financial hardship will be awarded grant money before people suffering more moderate financial issues. There are also regional factors taken into account. Again, there is only so much grant money available for disbursement. Seniors living in a more affluent region of the U.S. are less likely to receive grant money than seniors living in regions experiencing more widespread poverty. Regardless of your level of financial hardship, such regional factors might interfere with your qualification status. This is another reason it makes sense to apply for as many home improvement grants as possible.

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