HomeAboutClassesEventsNewsSupport GroupsVideos & Media Search LIFE Center
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago: LIFE Center
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago: LIFE Center

Home Modifications and Funding Options

Reviewed October 2015
Author: Kimberly Eberhardt Muir , MS, OTR/L
Former Program Specialist
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Author: Marcia J. Opp
Author: Kristine C. Cichowski , MS
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Home modifications are intended to help a person move within the home more easily and safely and to provide a greater sense of security and independence. Modifications can include:
• Changes or additions to the inside or outside structure (e.g. ramps)
• Special equipment (grab bars)
• Adjusting the location of furniture

There are many benefits to adapting the home:
• Increased privacy for daily activities
• Increased ability to perform daily activities
• Decreased dependence on others
• Lower chance of caregiver injuries
• Improved quality of life for the person with the disability and family/friends

Planning Home Modifications

Take a close look at movement around the home (using a wheelchair, walker, walking independently, and climbing stairs). Think about whether there are ways to improve safety and ease.

Ability to Perceive and Understand
Consider the ability to sense and recognize the distance of objects, the size or depth of areas or objects, and temperature changes.

Design and Structure of the Home
Universal Design (UD) helps people create barrier free living areas. The Center for Universal Design provides standards and options to help people live more independently, such as a lever door handle or power door opener instead of a door knob.

Features that Promote Connections to Friends and Family
UD principles also include a term called “Visitability.” Visitability includes design elements such as no–step entrances, usable climate controls and additional space in the bathroom area.

Private funding options and financial assistance may include:
• Local clubs and organizations, such as Rebuilding Together, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Habitat for Humanity, Ramp Up Foundation through United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)
• Federal income tax deductions for persons and modifications that qualify
• Illinois state tax break on some equipment
• Fund–raisers
• Private foundations
• Trust funds
• Corporate giving programs
• Public appeals

Additional Funding Options
Home modifications are not usually covered by insurance companies unless there are specific circumstances such as worker's compensation. Start your search by exploring the agencies listed below.
Type in home modification in the search box for various agencies. References: Center for Universal Design Principles: https://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/design/cud/; Currin ML, Comans TA, Heathcote K, Haines TP. Staying Safe at Home. Home environmental audit recommendations and uptake in an older population at high risk of falling. Australasian Journal on Ageing. 2012 Jun;31(2):90-5. Siefert, Carol. Occupational Therapy Guidelines for Home Modification, AOTA Press 2005:Bethesda, MD. Stark S, Landsbaum A, Palmer JL, Somerville EK, Morris JC. Client-centered home modifications improve daily activity performance of older adults. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2009 Jul;76 Spec No:235-45.
Funding and Resource Programs
Company: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Address: 7500 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850
Toll Free: 800-MEDICARE (633-4227)
Web: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidStWaivProgDemoPGI/MWDL/list.asp
Web: http://www.medicare.gov
Description:Medicaid waiver programs vary by state. Check the Medicaid web site on home modifications for information on your state's program.
Company: Chicago Mayors Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) - Housing Services
Address: 121 N LaSalle St.
Room 104
Chicago, IL 60602
Direct: Ogden Office 744-6673-7833
Direct: 312-743-1523
Hotline: 311
Main: 312.744.7050
TTY: 312.744.4964
TTY: Ogden TTY 773-744-7833
Web: http://www.cityofchicago.org/disabilities
Description:HomeMod Program provides assistance to persons under the age of 60 who meet certain eligibility requirements to obtain home modifications. Typical alterations include kitchen and bathroom modifications and the addition of interior and exterior lifts and ramps. Modifications are limited to a maximum of $10,000 per project. The application period is open between October 1 and Jan 15 yearly. Contact MOPD at 311 to be placed on an advance mailing list for an application when they are sent out on October 1.
Company: City of Chicago
Address: 121 N. LaSalle
Chicago, IL 60602
Direct: 312-744-7275
Help: 311
Main: 312.744.5000
Web: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en.html
Description:The Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS) (formerly H–RAIL) program provides housing modifications to seniors and seniors with disabilities for safety, security, and accessibility. Wheelchair ramps, smoke detectors, grab bars, lever faucets, window and door repairs, and carbon monoxide detectors are included. Seniors must fill out an application and meet certain requirements to receive a grant.
Company: Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC)
Address: Central Administrative Office
3135 Old Jacksonville Rd.
Springfield , IL 62704
Direct: 217.558.2350
TTY: 217.785.4728
Web: http://dscc.uic.edu
Description:Information and resources on state and federal programs for financing for home modifications. Illinois residents can call the local DSCC office for details
Company: Illinois StateTreasurer’s Office
Address: 100 West Randolph St.
Suite 15-600
Chicago, IL 60601
Direct: 312-814-1700
Email: webmaster@treasurer.state.il.us
Web: www.treasurer.il.gov
Description:Opportunity Illinois, Illinoisans with Disabilities Program enables some Illinois residents with disabilities to obtain lower interest rate loans for construction or to purchase equipment. Go to the website (see below for the pdf on Opportunity Illinois loan application. )
Company: U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
Address: Metcalfe Federal Building
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
Hotline: http://www.hud.gov/local/index.cfm?state=il&topic=homeless
Main: 312.353.5680
TTY: 312.261-5944
Web: http://www.hud.gov
Description:Resources for home modification information and funding.
Company: U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs-Home Modifications
Address: Chicago Office
2122 W. Taylor St.
Chicago, IL 60612
Tollfree: 1-800-827-1000
Web: http://www.homeloans.va.gov/sah.htm
Description:Programs to assist veterans with disabilities: SAH Grant (Specially Adapted Housing Grant); SHA Grant (Special Home Adaptation Grant) and HISA Grant (Home Improvements and Structural Alterations Grant.)

Back to Top

Contact Us | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
LIFE Center
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
345 E. Superior Street, First Floor
Chicago IL 60611

1.312.238.LIFE (5433) Fax 1.312.238.2860
The content of this Web site is for informational purposes only.
It does not replace the advice of a physician or other health care professionals.
Please see our Terms of Use which are located at the link at the top of the page.
Please see our disclaimer for more details.
All material is the property of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
All rights reserved.

Copyright 2016 Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
medicine on the net web excellence award     Bobby WorldWide Approved 508
The development and ongoing growth of the LIFE Center is made possible exclusively through contributions by individuals and community agencies. If you or someone you know wants to support the LIFE Center, please contact Nadia Joseph 312-238-1257 or click “here” to make an online donation. We are grateful for your generosity.