MRC's Adaptive Housing Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Adaptive Housing services can be one of the most complex and costly vocational rehabilitation services offered by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC). It entails a significant investment of resources by the agency in the necessary modifications. It also entails a significant amount of decision making by the consumer during the process. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
1) What kind of services does the MRC Adaptive Housing Program provide?
2) How do I apply for adaptive housing services?
3) How do I qualify for adaptive housing services?
4) Who coordinates the adaptive housing services?
5) Can a rental apartment be modified?
6) Can my condo be modified?
7) Can a new home or a home under construction be modified?
8) Does the modification require architectural drawings?
9) Who pays for the architectural drawings?
10) How does the contractor get chosen?
11) What is the bid process?
12) Can I have my own contractor do the work?
13) How long does it take to do a home modification?
14) What if I want to upgrade the materials used in the modifications to my home?
15) Do you project the type of potential modification for a declining health conditions when the home modifications are being done?
16) Who is responsible for the care, upkeep and repairs of the modifications?
17) Who is responsible for the cost of lift inspections?
18) Can lift inspections be waived in a private home?
19) What if I move, can I have home modification services provided at my new home?
20) What is the maximum cost limit for a home modification?
21) Who decides what modifications get funded?
22) What about temporary ramps?
The Adaptive Housing Program provides housing evaluations, architectural services, housing modifications, and equipment installation to individuals with disabilities to enable them to achieve an employment outcome by removing barriers to living in their current home.
Adaptive Housing services include (major) home modifications and (minor) home modifications.
Major home modifications may include wheelchair ramps and lifts, stairlifts, bathroom modifications (such as roll-in showers, roll under sinks, higher toilets and widened doors), and kitchen modifications (such as lowered counters, and roll under cooktops.
Minor Home Modifications may include door openers, grab bars, handrails, and widening of doors.
If your VR Counselor determines you might benefit from receiving adaptive housing services, he/she will complete the “Adaptive Housing Program Referral” form. It will be sent to the Adaptive Housing Coordinator in the Rehabilitation Technology Department who will coordinate your home modifications. At the time of the Adaptive Housing Coordinator’s site visit to your home you will need to sign the “Adaptive Housing Authorization” form
Your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor is solely responsible for determining your eligibility for any adaptive housing services.
Eligibility for actual modifications is determined by your counselor based on MRC policies, your standing in the rehabilitation process, your vocational goal, and your financial eligibility.
Adaptive housing services are coordinated by the Adaptive Housing Coordinator in the Rehabilitation Technology Department of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. He may be reached by phone at (617) 204-3721 or emailed at Eugene.Blumkin@MRC.state.ma.us
Yes, a rental apartment can be modified with the written approval of the property owner. The property owner has the right however to deny your request for housing modifications. However buildings with more than 10 units, covered under MGL Chapter 151B Section 4 Paragraph 7A, require the landlord to provide modifications, unless an undue hardship can be proved.
Yes, your condo can be modified. However you may need approval of your condo association to modify common areas in the cases of wheelchair ramps and lifts. Most condo associations do not require approval for modifications with the condo itself. You should check with your condo association regarding any modifications to be sure.
No. A new home or a home under construction cannot be modified. A new home is a home that has been completed after the disability has been established.
Yes all major modifications except stairlifts require architectural drawings. These drawings are all done to include existing building codes and regulations.
The architectural drawings are paid for by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. They are considered as part of the home modifications project.
The contractors are selected by an open bid process. After the bids are received, opened, and compared, the job is awarded to the lowest reasonable bidder. You will receive a copy of the Award Notification Letter.
The bid process is a state required procedure for home modifications from a list of licensed contractors at the lowest reasonable cost to the program.
Under the bid process the MRC solicits bids based on a Bid Request that includes architectural drawings and or equipment specifications for the modifications required based on your evaluation by the Adaptive Housing Coordinator and an architect.
Consumers will receive a copy of the bid as well as a list of all the licensed contractors it was sent to. The contractor will call to visit your house before he/she submits his/her bid.
If you have a licensed contractor that you wish to do the modifications, they must go through the same bid process as any other contractor. If he/she is the low bidder he/she will be awarded the job and then he/she will have to be put on the state contract. If he/she is not the low bidder we cannot award him the job.
MRC will try to facilitate the completion of home modifications in the shortest time possible. However mostly due to events beyond our control occasional delays may and do occur. We will be happy to update you on the progress of your modifications. The process usually takes 3 to 6 months to complete.
You may upgrade the materials used in the modifications at your own expense.
Yes, we design our modifications with the knowledge and expectation that many clients’ health conditions may decline in the future. The counselors, the adaptive housing coordinator and the architect discuss the client’s present and future capabilities when designing the home modification.
The care and upkeep of the modifications are the responsibility of the client.
The modifications are under warranty for one year by the contractor. He/she is responsible for any repairs in the first year. The client is responsible for the repairs after the 1 year warranty has expired.
The client is responsible for the cost of lift inspections.
No. The law requires all private residence lifts to be tested and inspected every five years. The fee for inspection is $400.00. You may apply to receive a reduction of the inspection fee to $100.00 if your lift is medically necessary or if the fee would result in hardship to you. The application to request the reduction may be accessed at Mass.gov/DPS.
Under exceptional circumstances it is possible to have home modifications done at another home if you move. The need and appropriateness for this 2nd time service will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
The maximum cost limit for a home modification is $15,000.00. There is however a waiver procedure available for jobs exceeding the $15,000.00 limit. Each waiver request will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
The evaluation of the waiver request will take into consideration the type and amount of work being done, the clients needs and the client’s vocational objective.
The Principal Engineer and the Director of Independent Living make the decision on what modifications get funded based on the MRC regulations.
The MRC will pay for temporary ramps to be put up until a permanent ramp is built. The MRC will not pay to purchase a temporary ramp to be used on a permanent basis.