[jbox title=”Independent Living Modifications Can Be Rather Expensive”]Aging in place (AIP) costs considerably less than assisted living care, but it’s not free. Here are a few options worth looking in to.[/jbox]
Claim a deduction: Contact a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to find out whether you or a loved one is eligible to deduct the cost of home modifications on your federal income tax. You need a written recommendation from your doctor as proof that the modifications are medically necessary. You can claim a deduction for the costs of operating and maintaining the modifications, whether or not the stair lift, ramp, or other equipment qualified as a medical expense. Home improvements (or capital expenses) that may be deducted per the IRS.gov are as follows:
- Constructing entrance or exit ramps for your home.
- Widening doorways at entrances or exits to your home.
- Widening or otherwise modifying hallways and interior doorways.
- Installing railings, support bars, or other modifications to bathrooms.
- Lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment.
- Moving or modifying electrical outlets and fixtures.
- Installing porch lifts and other forms of lifts (but elevators generally add value to the house).
- Modifying fire alarms, smoke detectors, and other warning systems.
- Modifying stairways.
- Adding handrails or grab bars anywhere (whether or not in bathrooms).
- Modifying hardware on doors.
- Modifying areas in front of entrance and exit doorways.
- Grading the ground to provide access to the residence.
Note: You can only itemize these deductions if the main purpose of installation is medical care for you, a spouse or dependent (modifications made for aesthetic, architectural or other personal reasons do not qualify). Permanent improvements that boost your property’s value may be partially included as a deduction; in this case, the cost of the home modification is reduced by the amount of the property value increase (whatever the difference is what your qualified medical expense to deduct will be). If the home modification does not increase your property value, you can deduct the whole cost as a medical expense.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Your stair lift may actually qualify for tax deductions. For example, you might be able to deduct the cost of installing your stair lift if it increases your property’s resale value and has been prescribed as a medical necessity. Read IRS Publication 502 or call the IRS at (800) 829-3676 to find out if you qualify for such a tax deduction.
Visit the Area Agency on Aging: Every state offers different incentives, programs, and benefits to their senior residents. The best way to learn about them all, in addition to any tax credits or federal monies available through Medicare, Medicaid (in some states, you may be able to qualify for funding via the Medicaid HCBS – home and community-based services – waiver), HUD, the VA, or the USDA that would be disbursed through the state, is at your local Area Agency on Aging. The AAA is a one-stop-shop neighborhood branch of your state’s department that handles senior care. Go to Eldercare.gov or N4A.org to find your AAA by zip code, city or county.
Apply for grants or take advantage of state assistive technology projects to make your home wheelchair accessible. According to HomeMods.org, funding is available for this specific modification through the Department of Veteran Affairs (call 800-827-1000 or your local VA for more details) and via the United Cerebral Palsy Association (call 800-872-5827). The IRS also permits those with disabilities to claim some of these expenses as a tax deduction. Check in with the National Council on Independent Living Center (call 703-525-3406) to get local funding information and referral services.
Get a loan to add a room: If Mom is moving in and she has health needs or disabilities, you may be eligible for government funding. FannieMae offers the HomeChoice program, Home Keeper program, and the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (get more details at efanniemae.com, or visit the local office).
Contact local foundations and non-profit organizations. Some may offer financial assistance or services referrals for those providing care for someone with disabilities or diseases like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Easter Seals and Rebuilding Together both offer low-or no-cost community-based home modification and repair programs.
Take out a second/reverse mortgage: If you have the equity, this is a good way to secure a loan for a home modification, which, if done well, should add value to the home as more people will be seeking homes where aging in place is possible. You must be over 62 to secure funding via a reverse mortgage.
Check your insurance policies: The National Association of Home Builders says that some programs (auto insurance, worker’s compensation, long term care policies, state catastrophic accident insurance plans, and medical trust funds) might cover the costs of a home modification.
Move your parents in: If you have decided it’s best for Mom and Dad to just move in with you so you can provide care more readily, You may be able to use proceeds from the sale of their home to make an accessible suite at your residence. Adult children can avail themselves of the space in the future too, as their own care needs change.
NJ Office Of Health Care Financing: The office administers the New Jersey Hospital Care Payment Assistance Program (Charity Care) for people who are uninsured and under-insured and also monitors hospital finances and performance.
Ready to consider a home modification for a family member’s residence, or your own? Mobility123 has a full line of products (stairlifts, auto lifts, ramps, and more) and professional installers standing by to get AIP construction underway. Learn more about our services now. 1 609-248-9272
If you find any of this information to be accurate, please let us know. Thanks!