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If you have a long-term condition, become disabled or are a parent of a disabled child the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) can help with costs to adapt your home to suit a resident’s needs. It is available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own rules.
A Disabled Facilities Grant is intended to make day-to-day life in your home easier. It covers adaptations to essential facilities in your home and make it adequate for your needs. These include changes that will give you better mobility into and around your home, such as:
Disabled people who require adaptations or structural changes to their home to make it accessible for their needs can apply. The term ‘disabled’ encompasses people who have a:
The cash is for changes that are necessary to meet a resident’s disability requirements and the work must be reasonable and practical. Common examples include:
You don’t have to be the owner of the property you live in. Applications from private and local authority tenants are welcome as are those from landlords who are applying on their tenants’ behalf. If you rent your property you will need your landlord’s permission before you apply for a DFG.
England and Wales: In England and Wales, if you have a social worker or occupational therapist you should apply through them. Otherwise contact your local council’s housing department. To find your council’s website, fill in your postcode here.
Northern Ireland: In Northern Ireland DFGs are paid by local trusts. Find yours here.
Scotland: The situation for people living in Scotland is slightly different. Councils there are required to give grants for adaptations. Scottish residents should contact their council’s social work department for details on how to apply. More information is available on the Scottish Parliament website here.
Councils are increasingly under financial pressure to maintain essential services such as child protection and adult social care. Although your council legally must consider your application, budgets for DFGs may differ depending on which area of the country you live in (the so called ‘postcode lottery’) and the time of year you apply: towards the end of a financial year your council may already have used up their DFG budget.
Before you can formally apply for a DFG you will need a needs assessment. Someone from your local council, usually an Occupational Therapist (OT), will come to your home to discuss your needs and which adaptations and building work could be beneficial for you. Depending on the level of demand in your area there may be a long wait for this assessment. You may wish to show the OT evidence from your GP or specialist doctor explaining why the adaptations or changes to your home will be beneficial to you.
The OT may need to visit your home a few times to fully ascertain your needs. If the work on your house requires major changes your council will require a structural survey and/or planning permission to be sought before they agree for work to go ahead. You will also need to obtain at least two quotes for the work. Note that some products and adaptations may be VAT-free for disabled people. See here for more details.
Grants are means-tested and the council will want to know details of your savings and any income you receive to decide whether you are eligible for funding. Savings over £6,000 will be taken into account. Depending on your savings and income you will either receive the full grant, partial funding or nothing at all.
DFGs for children under 19 are not means tested.
Together with the OT you will then make a formal application. By law your council has to make a decision on your DFG within six months of this date.
This depends on where you live in the UK. Currently the maximum amount payable is:
Your council will agree which products and work they’ll fund. Anything you want above this amount you’ll have to finance yourself.
The council will instruct an outside agency or company to project manage work with contractors. The DFG is paid in instalments. The progress of work and its quality will be reviewed by the council.
If you don’t qualify for a DFG there may be other options open to you. Some councils may offer some form of support and it’s worth checking with them to ask if they do so.
The ACT Foundation provides grants to disabled people to help them live independently at home.
The Turn2us website has a grants checker facility.
Finally, it’s worth noting these grants aren’t short-term bonuses. Adjustments made to your home could benefit you financially in the long term too. Rather than move to a care home, some adjustments may be enough to allow you to continue living independently, potentially saving you thousands of pounds in care fees.
And once you’ve adapted your home as suitable for a disabled person, you’re eligible for a reduction in your council tax, so you can save year after year.
Have you had a Disabled Facilities Grant? Share your experiences on our Facebook page, we’d love to hear from you!