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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

U.S. Reps. Lawrence, Crist, and Delgado Reintroduce Bill to Help Seniors Age in Place

April 1, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC - As seniors continue to be among those hardest hit by COVID-19, U.S. Representatives Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Charlie Crist (FL-13), and Antonio Delgado (NY-19) announced the reintroduction of the Senior Accessible Housing Act, legislation that would provide seniors with necessary resources to safely age in their homes. The bill would cover 100 percent of the costs of aging-in-place modifications to enable safe, comfortable, independent living.

Specifically, the Senior Accessible Housing Act would bring safe, at-home living within reach of seniors by providing a refundable tax credit to make necessary home modifications up to $30,000 over a lifetime. This would allow seniors, especially those who are lower- and fixed-income, to have the financial freedom to age-in-place in their own homes if they choose. Such improvements could include installing grab bars, ramps, no-step bathing, and more.

“Amid the backdrop of a deadly pandemic, our seniors are struggling to afford the much-needed home modifications to live independently,” said Rep. Lawrence. “I’m proud to work with Reps. Crist and Delgado on the Senior Accessible Housing Act to provide financial ease and relief for our seniors. They deserve to live in the comfort of their own homes safely and with peace of mind.”

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reports that roughly 90 percent of people ages 65+ would prefer to age in their homes. The virus coupled with the isolation many seniors are facing as nursing homes implement stringent visitation policies for the well-being of residents, has left more older folks looking to be able to safely and peacefully age in place.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were safer at home. But for too many seniors and persons with disabilities, the risk of falls means that home is not always so safe,” said Rep. Crist. “Unfortunately, too many cannot afford the cost of ramps, grab bars, wider doorways, and bathtubs that are easier to get in and out of. This is especially true for seniors on fixed incomes. Under our proposal, the Senior Accessible Housing Act, we provide a refundable, lifetime tax credit of $30,000 to give all seniors the option to age in their own home safely. Being able to retire in your own home, safely, in the Florida sunshine? What could be better!”

“The Senior Accessible Housing Act helps ensure more Americans can live safely and independently in the comfort of their own homes,” said Rep. Delgado. “I am proud to join Representatives Crist and Lawrence in reintroducing legislation to assist seniors purchasing grab bars, wheelchair ramps, and other accessibility modifications. This common-sense tax credit would be life-changing for seniors who wish to reside comfortably and securely at home.”

“Every week we see people who cannot afford the modifications to keep them safe and as independent as possible in their homes,” said Arlene Grosso, small business owner and Chair of the Pinellas Falls Prevention and Home Modification Coalition. “Simple modifications like ramps, zero entry showers, door widening, grab bars, and lifts can mean the difference for seniors. Those looking for low-cost and no-cost solutions often face long waiting lists as funding sources for existing programs have been drying up considerably. We have been honored to work with Congressman Crist on the Senior Accessible Housing Act to give our aging population the means to make desperately needed modifications to be safe in their own homes.”

“It’s welcome news to hear about the introduction of the Senior Accessible Housing Act,” said Jim Greatorex, Vice President, VGM Live at Home. “More than ever Aging Americans are looking at living in their homes as the pandemic has turned Senior Housing upside down. This Bill would help Seniors and their families create a safe home environment with incentives that will help affordability. Much thanks to Congressman Crist.”

Background on the Senior Accessible Housing Act:

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reports that roughly 90 percent of people ages 65+ would prefer to age in their homes rather than moving to an assisted facility or nursing home – the nearly to 250,000 seniors in Pinellas County are no exception. When compared, aging at home is actually cheaper and more cost effective than having to live in a nursing home where rooms costs can average anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 a month.

The Senior Accessible Housing Act empowers seniors to make the decision about where they’d like to live out their sunset years by providing a lifetime $30,000 tax credit to cover the costs associated with aging-in-place modifications to their homes.

The tax credit would be refundable and transferable so that even low-income seniors and those on a fixed budget would be able to take advantage of the credit immediately. The bill would lower Medicaid long-term care expenditures as more seniors can age in place, and would decrease Medicare expenditures by reducing preventable injuries that occur in the home.

Under the legislation, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would work with senior advocacy groups to publish a list of approved home modifications. It would also require builder certification in modification, building codes, construction standards, and appropriateness of modifications.

The credit would phase out for seniors with $100,000 (single) or $150,000 (married or joint filing separately) in annual income.