For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Sunday, October 21, 2001

See also: In The Military

Disabled vets can get
special VA home loans

Question: I am a disabled veteran who recently became wheelchair-bound. My house is not very wheelchair-accessible. Is there a Veterans Affairs program that will assist me in becoming more mobile in my residence?

Answer: Disabled veterans may be entitled to a grant from VA for a home specially adapted to their needs or for adaptations to a house. VA may approve a grant of not more than 50 percent of the cost of building, buying or remodeling adapted homes or paying indebtedness on those homes already acquired, up to a maximum of $43,000. Veterans must be entitled to compensation for permanent and total service-connected disability due to one of the following:

>> Loss of use of both lower extremities, which prevents movement without the help of braces, crutches, canes or a wheelchair.

>> Disability that includes blindness in both eyes, having only light perception, plus loss of use of one lower extremity.

>> Loss of use of one lower extremity together with organic disease or injury, or the loss of use of one upper extremity, which affects balance or movement without braces, canes, crutches or a wheelchair.

VA may approve a grant for the actual cost, up to a maximum of $8,250, for adaptations to a veteran's residence that are determined by VA to be reasonably necessary. Veterans with available loan guaranty entitlement may also obtain a guaranteed loan or a direct loan from VA to supplement the grant to acquire a specially adapted home. In addition, if a veteran is not eligible for a special adaptive housing grant and is seriously disabled, he or she should apply for VA's vocational rehabilitation program. If the veteran is unable to work, he or she would be evaluated for independent living services, and possible modification of the home may be part of those services.

For further information on VA home loans, call 433-1000.

Question: I was recently awarded 100 percent disability compensation because I am unemployable. I would rather work. Can the VA help, and if so, will I lose my l00 percent compensation?

Answer: Veterans awarded 100 percent compensation based upon unemployability should apply for vocational rehabilitation. If found eligible, they may participate in a vocational rehabilitation program and receive help in getting a job. A veteran who secures employment under the special program will continue to receive 100 percent disability compensation until the veteran has worked continuously for at least 12 months.

If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran,
call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.

Gregg K. Kakesako can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

E-mail to City Desk

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