Disabled facilities grant
The disabled facilities grant may be available from the council if someone you care for needs changes to their home. There has been recent publicity regarding the difficulty applicants have had in obtaining the grants and that the system is complicated. The grant is available however and could be used to;
- widen doors and instal ramps
- improve access to rooms and facilities – eg stairlifts or a downstairs bathroom
- provide a heating system suitable for your needs
- adapt heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use
These changes may allow the person you care for to remain independent in their home and avoid the stress and upheaval of a property move.
A Disabled Facilities Grant will not affect any benefits they may currently receive.
How much could they receive towards the alterations ?
How much you get depends on the household income and any savings over £6,000.
- In England the maximum grant is up to £30,000
- Wales £36,000
- Northern Ireland £25,000
- Scotland dependant on the local council.
Depending on their income they may need to pay towards the cost of the work to the property.
Who is eligible for the grant ?
The applicant for the grant must be disabled. You or someone living in your property must be disabled and either own the property or be a tenant and plan to stay in it for the duration of the loan which is currently 5 years.
The council will need to be happy that the work is:
- necessary and appropriate to meet the needs of the disabled person
- reasonable and can be done – depending on the age and condition of the property
No grant will be awarded if work starts on the property before the council approves the application.
Planning permission and building regulations.
The usual planning permission and building regulations apply and need to be applied for separately and the council may insist they employ a qualified architect or surveyor to plan and oversee the work. The grant can be used towards the cost of this.
Applying for a disabled facilities grant.
An occupational therapist can help determine what changes are needed to the property and the council will need to know
- the type of work that needs to be done
- the cost of the work
An application form is available from the housing or environment health department of their local council and they will normally ask for two written estimates for the work. The form needs to be returned to the council who will give a written response within six months. Work must not commence before this decision.
Here is the recent article from the BBC about the grant system being complicated.