'Aging in place' bill introduced

Friday, September 23, 2016

WASHINGTON – Baby boomers looking to make their homes more accessibe could receive a $30,000 tax credit for their troubles.

Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., recently introduced H.R. 5254, entitled, “Senior Accessible Housing Act,” which would incentivize individuals 60 years of age and older to “age in place” via a $30,000 tax credit for home modifications. Potential modifications include the widening of doorways and the installation of ramps, handrails, grab bars and non-slip flooring.

While Paul Bergantino says the bill would be “very beneficial” to those who have a need but lack funding, his only concern is that the language limits those who could access the benefit. 

“It specifically states, ‘for seniors,’” said Bergantino, president of Windsor Locks, Conn.-based Lifeway Mobility. “I’d love to see it available to anyone who has the need, whether it’s a young person, adult or senior.” 

As far as standards and requirements for home mods go, the bill could also say more, says Jerry Keiderling, president of Accessible Home Improvement of America, part of The VGM Group.

“I think lawmakers would want to know that any modifications or installations would be installed by certified people that follow local jurisdiction and Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines and that the projects are completed in full before any credit is given,” he said.

When asked if the tax credit would encourage new players to enter the home modification market, Keiderling says it very well might. 

“People are already being driven to the market now,” he said. “Maybe not in droves, but they’re looking to diversify revenue and they already have clientele that are probably in need of some home modifications.”

At press time, the bill had 19 co-sponsors.

“We’re going to need a lot more sponsors to get that bill passed,” said Bergantino.