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18 Navy | Winter 2017 USAA FINANCIAL ADVICE N o grant, loan or tax deduction can make up for the sacrifices of those who endured cata- strophic injuries while serving their country. But, at the same time, when disabled veterans need to modify their homes to fit their "new normal," some benefits can provide well-deserved relief. Here are three important things to understand: e Veterans Administration offers support programs. e VA maintains three programs designed to help disabled vets buy, build or modify a home to fit their circumstances. ey are all grants — meaning the money does not need to be paid back. e Specially Adapted Housing Grant offers up to $70,465 to build or remodel an existing home. e separate but similarly named Special Housing Adaptation Grant offers up to $14,093 to modify a home owned by the veteran or a family member's home in which the veteran will live. Finally, the Home Improvement and Structural Alter- ations Grant provides a lifetime benefit of up to $6,800 for certain modifications. All three grants are tax free and can be used with or without a VA home loan. e specific eligibility requirements for each program are detailed on the VA website. You may qualify for federal income tax benefits. Home improvements with the main purpose of medical care qualify as medical expenses and may be deductible if they exceed 10% of adjusted gross income (or 7.5% for those over 65). ere is also a deduction available for impairment-related work expenses. ese are out- of-pocket costs for items necessary for the disabled person to be able to work, and they are not subject to the 10% threshold. IRS Publication 502 explains these benefits in more detail. Many states offer property tax relief. Although not related directly to home modification, many states offer property tax breaks to disabled veterans. ese could reduce or even eliminate property taxes on veterans' homes. Check with your state taxing authority for the details. Beyond these benefits, veterans should recognize they needn't go it alone. Community and non-profit or- ganizations across the country are standing by to assist. Check out Rebuilding Together ( https://www.paying- gether.html ), which offers programs geared towards disabled veterans. Reprinted from a March 19, 2015 article with permission from USAA. 3 Things Vets Should Know About Home Modifying Highlights • Understand what VA grants you can access • See if you qualify for federal income tax benefits • Look for state tax relief ISTOCKPHOTO

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