PROMO 660 x 440 Flag - Flag Veterans - iStock

Survey: US veterans unaware of eligible housing benefits

Edwin J. Viera

Click play to listen to a version of this article.

Audio file

(Virginia News Connection) A recent survey showed U.S. veterans are unaware of housing benefits to which they are entitled.

AARP's survey found 60 percent of veterans 45 and older did not know about the availability of Department of Veteran's Affairs grants to modify their homes. Almost a quarter of them need financial assistance to make necessary modifications to age in place.

PROMO Military - Line of Soldiers - iStock - ethanfink

© iStock - ethanfink

Philisa Johnson, associate state director of community outreach for AARP Virginia, said the programs are not well known because some veterans did not realize how service may affect the later years of their lives.

"You know if you're discharging at 25, 28, let's say if you were on the younger end, you may say, 'Well I feel fine, I don't have any hearing loss at that time. You know, I don't have PTSD.'" Johnson explained "Effects are not apparent at that time. It's a lot of different reasons, so they might have just discharged and not even felt or knew that something was going on with their bodies."

To help veterans learn more about these programs, AARP launched the Veterans Home Modification Benefits Guide. It provides information on the millions of dollars in funding available to help veterans and service members buy, build, or modify their homes. A Facebook Live event will be held June 7 to answer questions about the guide.

Other survey findings showed 91 percent of veterans surveyed said it is important for them to age in place if they need long-term care. More than half of caregivers said bathroom modifications are necessary to continue providing care. Johnson pointed out the programs also benefit veterans' caregivers.

"Let's say your mother moves in with you, and in order for her to age in place, she may need to make modifications to your living space," Johnson outlined. "You as the caregiver can apply for some of this funding to make modifications to your home for a family member."

Almost half of veterans age 45 and older need bathroom modifications to age in place or provide care for a loved one at home. This helps caregivers since research finds family caregivers of veterans spent an average of $11,500 on caregiving, up from a 2021 figure of around $7,200.