5 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Norman Keller was in the Navy 21 year and said he is proud of his service to country, but now he is dissatisfied with the veterans affairs service.

"I don't think the VA has been treating me right," said Keller.

Keller is now fifty percent disabled, suffers from PTSD and requires the use of a wheelchair. He said he knows the VA has its hands full trying to meet the needs of every veteran, but the process is taking too long.

" It looks to me like I should be at the top of the list," said Keller," these guys they come back and I know they need the help so do I."

On May 30, 2013 Keller applied for Specialty Adapted Housing grants and said he was told he's eligible and his wait would be short.

"Within eight months, that's what they promised," he said.

It has been more than a year and Keller said the timeline has been constantly changing, he's angry.

"Every time I call they just say I'm still in the developmental stages," said Keller," what does that mean?"

The specialty adapted housing grants would make his Clay County home wheelchair functional which he said he needs; he's unable to stand for long periods and needs the wheelchair to get around.

"It is very small house I can't get in the bathroom with my wheelchair, I can't get in my bedroom with my wheelchair," said Keller.

Recently he was told he has Cancer; he said now having a home that is wheelchair accessible is even more urgent.

His doctor was able to get him the wheelchair ramp on the outside, he now needs the VA to come through with the grants to retro fit his home on the inside.

"I'm sure I'm not the only one,' said Keller, "but it affects me, It affects my family."

Suzanne Nunziata spokesperson for the Bay Pines VA office said she could not discuss the specifics of the case without written approval from Keller. Nuziata said someone will contact Keller and try to resolve his concerns.

She said there are two programs offered by the VA and these are the guidelines:

Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans

VA provides grants to Service members and Veterans with certain permanent and total service-connected disabilities to help purchase or construct an adapted home, or modify an existing home to accommodate a disability. Two grant programs exist: the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant and the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant.

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

SAH grants help Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities live independently in a barrier-free environment. SAH grants can be used in one of the following ways:

· Construct a specially adapted home on land to be acquired

· Build a home on land already owned if it is suitable for specially adapted housing

· Remodel an existing home if it can be made suitable for specially adapted housing

· Apply the grant against the unpaid principal mortgage balance of an adapted home already acquired without the assistance of a VA grant

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

SAH grants help Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities live independently in a barrier-free environment. SAH grants can be used in one of the following ways:

· Construct a specially adapted home on land to be acquired

· Build a home on land already owned if it is suitable for specially adapted housing

· Remodel an existing home if it can be made suitable for specially adapted housing

· Apply the grant against the unpaid principal mortgage balance of an adapted home already acquired without the assistance of a VA grant

Eligibility

Servicemembers or Veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability, may be entitled to a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant or a Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant. The table below provides an overview of VA's housing grant programs for Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities.

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

Eligibility

Living Situation

Ownership

Number of Grants You Can Use

· Loss of or loss of use of both legs, OR

· Loss of or loss of use of both arms, OR

· Blindness in both eyes having only light perception, plus loss of or loss of use of one leg, OR

· The loss of or loss of use of one lower leg together with residuals of organic disease or injury, OR

· The loss of or loss of use of one leg together with the loss of or loss of use of one arm, OR

· Certain severe burns, OR

· The loss, or loss of use of one or more lower extremeties due to service on or after September 11, 2001, which so affects the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude ambulating without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair

Permanent

Home is owned by an eligible individual

Maximum of 3 grants, up to the maximum dollar amount allowable

Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant

Eligibility

Living Situation

Ownership

Number of Grants You Can Use

· Blindness in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less, OR

· Loss of or loss of use of both hands, OR

· Certain severe burn injuries, OR

· Certain severe respiratory injuries

Permanent

Home is owned by an eligible individual or family member

Maximum of 3 grants, up to the maximum dollar amount allowable

Benefit

The SAH and SHA benefit amount is set by law, but may be adjusted upward annually based on a cost-of-construction index. The maximum dollar amount allowable for SAH grants in fiscal year 2014 is $67,555. The maximum dollar amount allowable for SHA grant in fiscal year 2014 is $13,511. No individual may use the grant benefit more than three times up to the maximum dollar amount allowable.

A temporary grant may be available to SAH/SHA eligible Veterans and Service members who are or will be temporarily residing in a home owned by a family member. The maximum amount available to adapt a family member's home for the SAH grant is $29,657 and for the SHA grant is $5,295.

5 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/nation/military/2014/06/03/va-not-retro-fit-home/9926121/