MoneyMagpie

May 04

Disabled Facilities Grant – could you qualify?

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.

 

What is a Disabled Facilities Grant?

Happy Man in wheelchair working in an office

A Disabled Facilities Grant is intended to make day-to-day life in your home easier. It covers adaptations which will provide essential facilities in your home adequate for your needs, and changes that will give you better mobility into and around your home. This could include:

  • Improving access to parts of your home by installing a stair lift or a downstairs bathroom.
  • Widening doors and installing ramps for wheelchair users.
  • Improving existing heating and lighting facilities e.g. altering lighting controls.
  • Modifying your bathroom so that you have easier access to the facilities.

 

Who can apply for a disability grant for their home?

Happy wheelchair bound man playing basketball

Disabled people who require adaptations or structural changes to their home to make it accessible for their needs. The term ‘disabled’ encompasses people who have a:

  • sight or hearing impairment
  • learning disability or mental health disorder
  • physical disability
  • other serious illness, injury or impairment.

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:

  • installing a stair lift
  • adapting a bathroom
  • adding ramp access to a house
  • improving controls for heating and lighting
  • widening doors for wheelchair users.

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.

 

How do I apply for a disabilities grant?

Woman with prosthetic leg having physio therapy

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.

 

Assessment

Disability assesment

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. For more information see here.

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.

 

How much of a disability grant could I get?

Disabled woman playing tennis in a wheelchair

This depends on where you live in the UK. Currently the maximum amount payable is:

  • England: £30,000
  • Wales: £36,000
  • Northern Ireland: £25,000
  • Scotland: varies depending on your local council.

 

If you are successful

Disabled man in office

Your council will agree which products and work they will fund and the price they will pay. 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. DFGs are paid in installments. The progress of work and its quality will be reviewed by the council.

 

What if I don’t qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant?

Happy disabled woman having breakfast

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  is a charity that provides grants to disabled people to help them live independently at home.

The Turn2us website has a grants checker facility.

Read our article to on disability benefits to make sure you’re getting what is rightfully yours.

 

Benefits of the grants

Wheelchair bound woman

Finally, these grants aren’t just 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 one band reduction in your council tax, so you can save year on year.

Have you had a Disabled Facilities Grant? Share your experiences on our Facebook page, we’d love to hear from you!

 

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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

4 thoughts on Disabled Facilities Grant – could you qualify?

  1. i just wodered if we were entiled as my husband as c.o.p.d. and struggles to get up stairs to the toliet and bed ..he gose up on his bottom ..also his breathing is getting worse now and could do with one of though scooters to get round please help.thankyou.




    0
  2. my parents were told that they can only have a grant up to £5000 anything over that will be placed as a charge on the property which they will have to pay back if they sell within 10 years, the bill has come to £7000, £1000 of which is a overseeing fee, is this correct
    thanks




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