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Home Modification Policies

People living with multiple sclerosis sometimes find it necessary for them to modify their homes to increase accessibility and improve safety. Modifying a home may also allow a person with MS to maintain a connection to a job, remain an active member of the community, or even to remain independent. However, these modifications can be prohibitively expensive. People with MS may benefit from financial relief through tax credits, grants or assistance programs.

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What We Are Trying to Accomplish

MS activists are advancing home modification legislation in their state legislatures to provide financial assistance for home modifications. Policies allow an individual homeowner or a family to be able to recoup some of the cost of modifying a home. 

Why It’s Important

People living with multiple sclerosis (MS) may find that their daily lives would be improved if they could modify their homes to increase accessibility and safety. Accessible housing can also help people with MS to cope with many of their symptoms. Modifications such as installing a roll-in shower or stairway lift can help conserve energy to manage fatigue, which is a common MS symptom. Balance—as well as issues with gait, coordination, muscle tone, and strength—can also be mitigated with the help of appropriate modifications such as handrails or grab bars. Installation of a ramp means someone using a wheelchair or scooter can gain easy entry to and exit from their home, potentially allowing them to maintain employment and avoid isolation.
 
In addition to physical challenges, the disease often also imposes financial challenges. The overall cost of living with MS is estimated to be over $70,000 per year, per person. The cost of home modifications vary widely; estimates range from $100 to $50,000. These modifications can include something as straightforward as installing a grab bar in the shower to something as complex as building a full ramp into a home. Home modifications not only benefit people with MS—they also result in savings for the healthcare system and for our economy overall. According to the CDC, in 2012, 2.4 million non-fatal fall injuries were treated in emergency departments and more than 722,000 of these patients were hospitalized. The direct medical cost of these falls was $30 billion in 2010.

In states across the country, MS activists have recruited legislators to introduce home modification legislation, formed coalitions and built momentum. Several states have already enacted these laws, and many others are considering bills. 

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Help advance home modification legislation in your state legislature.

State Information

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