Homeownership is a dream for many, and individuals with disabilities should have equal opportunities to achieve this milestone.
Thankfully, there are various home loan options available that cater specifically to disabled individuals. This blog post explores avenues and resources to make homeownership more accessible for people with disabilities.
How Does the Government Define Disability?
The government defines disability through various laws and programs. There are two primary definitions used in the United States:
- Social Security Administration (SSA) Definition: According to the SSA, an individual is considered disabled if they meet the following criteria:
- They are unable to perform a substantial gainful activity (SGA). It means they are unable to earn a certain level of income.
- Their condition(s) must significantly limit their ability to perform basic work-related activities such as standing, sitting, lifting, walking, or remembering.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Definition: The Americans with Disabilities Act is a civil rights law. It prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various aspects of life, including employment, public services, transportation, and accommodations. The ADA defines disability more broadly, covering individuals who have a physical or mental impairment. Major life activities include activities such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, and performing manual tasks.
Can You Buy a House on Disability
Yes, individuals on disability can buy a house. Despite being on disability, it is possible to obtain a mortgage and purchase a home. Assessing financial resources, including the ability to afford mortgage payments and related expenses, is important.
Additionally, having a good credit score and positive credit history can enhance eligibility. It is essential to meet the requirements set by lenders to secure a mortgage while on disability.
Tips For Buying a House On Disability
- Financial Planning: Assess your financial situation and determine your budget for buying a home. Consider all costs involved, including down payment, closing costs, monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, and maintenance expenses. Develop a realistic budget that aligns with your income and ongoing disability-related expenses.
- Explore Assistance Programs: Research and explore government assistance programs that provide financial aid for disabled individuals. These programs can help ease the financial burden associated with homeownership.
- Obtain Pre-approval for a Mortgage: Contact lenders and get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Pre-approval demonstrates your financial eligibility and helps you determine your price range when searching for a home.
- Search for Accessible Homes: Utilize online listings, and real estate websites, to search for homes that meet your accessibility needs. Consider features such as wheelchair ramps, wider doorways, accessible bathrooms, and other modifications that may be required.
- Complete the Closing Process: During the closing process, review and sign all relevant documents. Be sure to thoroughly understand the terms and conditions before signing.
What Are Your Housing And Loan Rights?
In the United States, individuals have specific housing and loan rights that are protected by federal laws. Here are some key housing and loan rights in the U.S.:
- Fair Housing Act (FHA): The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status. It ensures that housing access is equally provided to all individuals.
- Reasonable Accommodations: Individuals with disabilities have the right to request reasonable accommodations or modifications in housing to ensure equal access. This includes making necessary changes or adaptations to policies, rules, or physical structures to accommodate a person’s disability-related needs.
- Accessibility Requirements: The Fair Housing Act also mandates certain accessibility requirements for multifamily housing built after March 13, 1991.
- Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA): It prohibits lenders from discriminating based on factors such as race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. It ensures that creditworthiness evaluations of individuals are based on their financial qualifications and not on discriminatory grounds.
- Mortgage Accessibility Standards: Lenders must make reasonable accommodations in the loan application and approval process for individuals with disabilities. This includes accepting alternative forms of income, considering disability benefits, and providing accessible alternatives for application procedures.
- Truth in Lending Act (TILA): It ensures that borrowers are provided with clear and accurate information. It requires lenders to disclose important loan information, such as the annual percentage rate (APR), fees, and repayment terms.
Individuals with disabilities have access to home loans and various assistance programs to help them achieve homeownership. Lenders are prohibited from discriminating against loan applicants based on disability. There are government programs that provide financial aid and housing grants for people with disability.