The Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act will Help Injured Veterans Stay Home

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on November 11, 2020 # Military / Veterans

Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), a senior member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, summed it up best on July 23, 2019, as the House of Representatives debated H.R. 3504, the Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing (SAH) Improvement Act.

He said, plainly, “It’s a quality of life issue.”

A little over a year later, on August 8, 2020, the president signed that bill into law. The Reeve Foundation joins veterans’ groups such as Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), the Wounded Warrior Project, and American Veterans (AMVETS) in applauding the bipartisan efforts of Representatives and Senators to make much-needed changes to a vital VA program to help improve the quality of life for injured veterans hoping to return home or stay in the home they love.

The Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Specially Adaptive Housing Improvement Act provides:

  • Increased funding available to eligible veterans from about $85,000 to about $98,000
  • Increased maximum number of awarded grants from 3 to 6 per veteran
  • Increased number of authorized applications per Fiscal Year from 30 to 120.
  • Extends benefits to blind veterans

Senators who supported the measure see this modernized and expanded grant program as a way for veterans to utilize vital SAH grants in a manner that fits their individual needs.

To find out if you are eligible, and to learn how to apply, visit the VA website.

Previously, the VA Specialty Adaptive Housing grants (VA SAH) were used to help veterans build adaptive homes on purchased land, alter a home that a veteran was already living in, or were used against the unpaid principal balance of the existing mortgage on an adapted home.

This law expands qualifications for injured and seriously ill veterans. Those eligible include veterans who have lost or lost the use of both arms or legs, those who are blind in both eyes, and those veterans who have certain severe burn-related injuries.American flag and dog tags

The Reeve Foundation’s Military and Veterans Program (MVP) has been assisting veterans, no matter how long they served or how they were injured, navigate the challenges of adapting their homes following spinal cord injury, so we appreciate the benefits of a more flexible SAH grant system.

The MVP’s team of volunteers have backgrounds in the armed services or in civilian roles that support the armed services. They bring a vast array of experiences working with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), specifically in helping veterans access these kinds of benefits. The Reeve Foundation is pleased that this law will increase the opportunities for newly injured veterans to transition into their homes where they can stay with their families. We are also pleased it will provide more resources for veterans to modify their homes when their families grow, or their needs change.

No two injuries are the same, and no two veterans have the same needs. Having a statute that responds to the changing circumstances of paralyzed veterans is vital to maintaining that quality of life that supporters have long advocated for in Congress.

As the law’s namesake Ryan Kules himself told Stars and Stripes, these changes will “ensure that warriors who are severely injured and paid a heavy, heavy sacrifice for their country have the appropriate adaptations to live in their homes, not only today but for many tomorrows down the road.”