Chicagoland Funding Sources
We’re privileged to work with many different funding sources in Chicagoland, Northwest Indiana, and southeast Wisconsin that may be able to help you pay for a ramp, stairlift or other accessibility solution. If you want more details, you can contact the original organization listed. Meanwhile, if you have any question in our wheelhouse, contact us and we’d be pleased to help.
State of Illinois and Chicago Area Resources:
When it comes to development disabilities, Aspire Chicago has been a leader in providing services to both children and adults. As a non-profit organization since 1960, they are driven to assist families and individuals in IL & WI.
City of Chicago: Home Repairs for Accessible & Independent Living (H-Rail)
Thought the Department of Housing, the City of Chicago provides home improvements at no charge to qualified residents of Chicago who are 60 and over. Homeowners and renters are encouraged to apply. For further information, please call (312) 742-0014 or visit this website.
City of Chicago: Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Home Mod Program
The HomeMod Program is run by the Chicago Mayor’s Office and permits people with disabilities and low to moderate income to have their apartments and homes modified to make them wheelchair accessible. Requirements mandate that the person with a disability is a Chicago resident, 59 years of age or younger, with certain income qualifications. For more information, call (312) 743-1523 or (312) 744-7833 (TTY) or visit the MOPD website.
Community Alternatives Unlimited
CAU is a diverse, non-profit corporation that works with state agencies, and other organizations to serve families and individuals with disabilities. In an effort to help improve the health of these individuals, Community Alternatives(CAU) provides economic support. Their assistance is provided in 13 different languages.
Crime Victims Compensation Program
The victim and or/dependent of a violent crime can apply for financial assistance with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Help must be sought within one year of the date of injury. Other restrictions may apply. For more information, call 1-800-288-3368 or visit their website.
Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS)
This is the department that administers the Medicaid program, providing health care assistance for qualified adults and children. If people qualify, Medicaid will a pay for home medical equipment, including lifts that do not require home modifications. Visit their website.
Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC)
Administered by the University of Illinois, this helpful program from the DSCC can provide accessibility modifications for individuals under 21 with certain chronic physical disabilities or health impairments. To find out more, call the Chicago office at (312) 996-6380 or visit their website. Specific offices are listed below:
Illinois Department of Human Services
With offices located through the state, the IDHS helps people with disabilities receive funding for home modifications through the Department of Rehab Services. You must be 18-59 to qualify. Please visit their website or call any of the following offices:
As a non-profit organization, El Valor seeks to help all members of the Chicagoland community, including those with special needs, to live, learn and work.
Independent Living Centers
With 23 locations, the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living is an authoritative source of information about issues most critical to promoting independent living for all persons with disabilities. To learn more, visit their website or call one of your local centers listed here:
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes it clear that tenants have the right to make reasonable modifications to their apartments, with the permission of the Landlord and at the expense of the tenant.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Although it is rare, some long-term care insurance policies may cover certain apartment modifications and equipment. Check your personal policy.
Medicare does not pay for home modifications.
National MS Society – Greater Illinois Chapter
Grants are available for those with MS to obtain funding for home modifications. Visit this website for more information.
Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging
The Area Agency on Aging, plans and coordinates an extensive network of services for persons 60+ in fast- growing areas in the state, including : DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Kankakee, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties. For more information, visit their website or call one of the following local offices:
Northwest Housing Partnership Program
Established in 1990, the Northwest Housing Partnership Program (NWHP) is a non-profit organization that provides loans to low-income homeowners who are in need of home modifications. The NHPP proudly serves individuals living in the north, west, and northwest suburbs of Chicago.
Managed Care Organizations
The following organizations offer managed care health plans for Chicagoland residents.
Money Follows the Person Program:
Illinois’ Pathways to Community Living/MFP Program relies on a strong collaborative, inter-agency approach to assistance for Chicagoland residents. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services serves as the lead agency for Pathways to Community Living and partners closely with the Department on Aging, the Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health, the Division of Rehabilitation Services, the Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Department of Housing Development Authority. These organizations work together on the formation of policy and implementation issues related to MFP. For additional details visit this website.
Ray Graham Association
Since 1950, the Ray Graham Association has been dedicated to ensuring that children and adults living with disabilities are given the opportunity for the highest possible quality of life. The RGA is dedicated to providing customized support services for each individual.
Ramp Up Foundation
This foundation works through UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago. The Ramp Up Foundation lives up to its name by providing ramps and interior modifications to make homes accessible to people with disabilities. Their goal is to help people with disabilities live an independent life from childhood forward. For more information, call (708) 444-8460 EXT 231 or visit their website.
RT*MC is part of a national nonprofit program which generously sponsors “National Rebuilding Day” across the country on the last Saturday in April. Each year, a different Chicago neighborhood and south suburb are selected to receive free home repair for elderly, disabled, or low-income individuals. Visit their website.
As a non-profit, St. Colleta’s of IL offers support and services for people with special needs who receive assistance in the form of educational programs, medical care, and more. St. Colleta’s is dedicated to supporting the physical, mental, and social well-being of the individuals it serves.
Townships and Villages
Local townships frequently have a Disability Coordinator who is responsible for promoting awareness of the needs of seniors and citizens with disabilities. Their goal is to provide educational information and programs to help these individuals as much as possible. Mini-grants are in place with funds available for accessibility modifications.
Lifeway has a long, devoted history of providing support for veterans. The organization works directly with local VA hospitals and offers three main grant programs to assist disabled veterans with necessary home modifications. Visit the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Website: https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/Pages/default.aspx
Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH)
Veterans or service members who have a service-connected disability (see the list below), may be entitled to a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The goal of the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant Program is to provide a safe, convenient, barrier-free living environment that provides veterans or service members a higher level of independent living. One primary goal of the SAH grant is to create a wheelchair accessible home with available funds of $60,000. Veterans or service members are entitled to compensation for a permanent and total service-connected disability due to:
- The loss, or loss of use, of both lower extremities such as to preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
- Blindness in both eyes having only light perception, plus loss or loss of use of one lower extremity.
- The loss, or loss of use, of one lower extremity together with
- residuals of organic disease or injury, or
- the loss or loss of use of one upper extremity.
- Item (1) and Item (2) above must so affect the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
- The loss, or loss of use, of both upper extremities, so as to preclude the use of the arms at or above the elbows.
The permanent and total disability is due to a severe burn injury (as so determined).
- Those interested in applying for a Specially Adapted Housing grant or a Special Home Adaptation grant SHA grants should complete VA Form 26-4555 (click here) and submit it to your local VA regional office.
Special Home Adaptation Grant (SHA)
Veterans who have a specific service-related disability may be entitled to a grant for the purpose of modifying an existing home to meet adaptive needs. including improving their mobility throughout their home. This grant is currently limited to $12,000. The SHA grant is available to veterans who have been in the service and incurred permanent and total disability due to:
- Blindness in both eyes with 5/200 visual acuity or less or
- The anatomical loss or loss of use of both hands or extremities below the elbow
You can apply for the SAH and SHA grants by completing VA Form 26-4555 and submitting it to your local VA office.
Home Improvement and Structural Alternations Grant (HISA)
Under the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) program, veterans with disabilities may receive assistance for any home improvement necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to the home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities.
Veterans who wish to apply for a HISA grant need to have received a medical determination indicating that improvements and structural alterations are necessary or appropriate for the effective and economical treatment of his/her disability. A veteran may receive both a HISA grant and either a Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant or a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant (see above). To apply for a HISA Grant, complete VA Form 10-0103 Veterans Application at www.prosthetics.va.gov/psas/HISA2.asp.
Illinois Warrior Assistance Program
A much needed program, the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program provides confidential assistance for Illinois Veterans as they transition back to their everyday lives after their valiant service to our country. As they note, “Our health professionals are here to help.”
Loans / Tax Relief Programs:
E-Z Access Loan Program
This unique program offered by the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago targets two specific groups, including individuals with disabilities and businesses that are seeking to comply with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Bank generously make loans available at reduced rates. They will also accommodate loans as little as $500 over a 12-month period (60 months for larger purchases). Their credit terms are also relaxed and items such as social security benefits and disability checks are often not included as income. For more information, visit www.aboc.com.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) offers two loan guarantee programs: Title 1 Property Improvement Loans and 203K renovation loans, though both have size limits. The FHA programs can provide direct loans with below-market interest rates (to 1%), higher than normal debt ratio (to 1%), extended terms (to 33 years), low down payments or financed closing costs. These loans can be used for acquisition or rehabilitation. The 203K program will also loan up to 80% of the repaired value of the home, making it beneficial for a household that is moving and those who want to make accessibility improvements in their new home. For more information, call (312) 866-2729.
Income Tax Deductions
It’s welcome news that many people can take advantage of income tax deductions under the federal tax code. To do so, the cost of the modifications must be treated as a medical deduction and be itemized and shown as an expense on federal tax form 1040 “Schedule A”. In order for home modifications or equipment to be treated as a tax deduction, they must be certified by a physician as being necessary for health reasons. For a renter, the cost of accessibility modifications becomes a deduction from taxable income. Homeowners can also deduct modifications cost from their income, but need to account for any increase in the value of the home. A written opinion from a competent real estate appraiser specifying how much and why the home’s value has increased is necessary. For this reason (and others) a professional accountant should be contacted.
SSI and Plans for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)
PASS is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provision designed to help individuals with disabilities return to work. For those who qualify, SSI provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. SSI also allows individuals to set aside income for projects that improve accessibility. For more information, visit this website.
Ready Access Program / Opportunity Illinois Program
The United States Treasurer’s Office and many financial institutions work together to assist individuals with disabilities by providing capital if they wish to borrow at a lower rate of interest. The Treasurer’s Office deposits state funds with participating financial institutions and the institutions then make low-interest Ready Access loans. The funds earn interest for taxpayers and are fully protected against loss.
The maximum amount an individual can borrow is $50,000. This money is available for up to 5 years at below-market fixed rate of interest. The Ready Access Program does not provide for medical services, pharmaceuticals, psychological services, therapy and/or therapeutic devices. Illinois financial institutions wishing to participate in the Illinois Treasurer’s Ready Access Program should contact the Treasurer’s Office. Illinois residents with disabilities use the Opportunity Illinois interest rate reduction to finance construction projects or purchase equipment that will help them achieve greater mobility and self-sufficiency. For more information, visit illinoistreasurer.gov.
Reverse Mortgage and Home Equity Loans
These alternative methods can be utilized to finance home modifications. A financial advisor can help determine which method is best given individual financial needs and circumstance. For more information, contact your financial advisor.
Home Equity Loan
A home equity loan is a loan that is secured by your home. These loans can have either fixed or adjustable interest rates. The interest paid is usually tax -deductible. They can be used for any number of purposes: college tuition, vehicle purchases, home improvement or investment in other financial vehicles. Contact your financial adviser for advice.
A reverse mortgage is a special type of loan that enables a senior homeowner to borrow against the equity of their home and receive cash without selling the home, giving up the title or making monthly payments. Special features include:
- No monthly payments
- Money is not taxed
- Does not interfere with Social Security Benefits, Medicare, or Medicaid payments
- Remaining equity goes to heirs
- Retain full ownership of your home
- No mandatory repayment until you are no longer living in the home
- You cannot outlive your loan
- Use the money as you wish
This program is:
- Guaranteed by the Federal Government – FHA.
- Has the advantage of allowing you to lower your monthly debt and increase your monthly retirement income.
- Is easier to obtain because there are no income or credit qualifications.
Disadvantages can include:
- High upfront fees.
- Accumulating interest. There are no monthly payments on a Reverse Mortgage. As such, the loan amount – the amount you will eventually have to pay back – grows larger over time. (Read more about this here.)
- Not Enough Cash Can Be Tapped: If you have a lot of home equity, you might be frustrated that a Reverse Mortgage only enables you to use some of it. The HECM loan limit is currently set at $822,375, meaning the amount you can borrow is based on this value even if your home is valued for more.
TechConnect Low-Interest Loan Program
There are two parts to the TechConnect Low-Interest Loan Program:
- The Assistive Technology Loan Program provides loans to Illinois residents with disabilities and/or their families to purchase assistive technology devices, services, and home modifications, such as wheelchair accessibility.
- The second part, called the Telework Loan Program is restricted to Illinois residents with disabilities, 18 years and older. The loan can be used to purchase equipment, services, and home modifications for home-based employment. The equipment is not restricted to assistive technology devices.
For more information, please visit this website.
IL Funding list at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Click here for more information.