HR 5254 | Supporting Home Modifications for Seniors
Seniors who would like to modify their homes to increase accessibility and safety have an opportunity to express support for legislation that could help them afford to do so. A bill, HR 5254, in the House of Representatives introduced in May 2016 would help homeowners age 60 and over get a tax credit starting in 2017 for installing modifications which would help them age in place.
The bill HR 5254 Senior Accessible Housing Act is now in the Ways and Means Committee. If you support this bill, ask your Representative in the House of Representatives to co-sponsor it and vote for it when it comes up for a vote.
HR 5254 allows seniors age 60 and older to gain a tax credit for installation of entrance and exit ramps, grab bars and handrails, non-slip flooring and modifications such as widening doorways in their home. Labor costs of the preparation, assembly, installation and piping and wiring of the modification would be covered under the tax credit. For new construction or reconstruction, the tax credit would also be allowed when the taxpayer moves into the home.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that 80 percent of aging-related home modifications are paid for out of pocket. For seniors, offering a tax credit for the expenses of home modification is a desirable and practical benefit.
Slightly less than half of the respondents to an AARP/Roper Public Affairs and Media group of NOP World poll reported that their home would not fully meet their physical needs as they age. Items such as ramps and grab bars add safety to the homes of a population that are most at risk for falls and for long-term disabling conditions. Low-income seniors often reside in older homes that lack design elements for older people such as wider doorways and one-level floor plans.
HR 5254 was introduced by Representatives Patrick Murphy of Florida, Bruce Poliquin of Maine, and John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan. The bill has garnered the support of Representatives from California and Arizona already, and the number of supporters is growing.
If you want to support this bill, you can find out who your Representatives are and how to contact them at the US House of Representatives website. You can call your Representatives at (202) 224-3121. Ask them to support this bill, HR 5254, the Senior Accessible Housing Act.