As we grow older we often become less mobile and need to make changes around the home.
The cost of making these changes can be expensive, but a grant, known as a Disabled Facilities Grant, may be available from your Local Authority. In this post ThyssenKrupp Encasa, a leading provider of stair lifts, home lifts and platform lifts explains what grants are available and how you can claim them.
The types of work for which grants are available include:
- the widening of doors and the installation of access ramps;
- the improvement of access to rooms and facilities – for example a stair lift or a downstairs bathroom;
- providing a heating system suitable for your requirements; and
- the adaption of heating or lighting controls, making them easier to use.
The size of your grant is dependent on a number of factors including your household savings over £6,000 and your household income. The maximum value of the grant also varies from country to country. In England you can claim up to £30,000, Wales £36,000 and in Northern Ireland up to £25,000. In Scotland the value varies, depending on your Local Authority.
In some circumstances income and savings are not taken into account, for example a disabled child under 18 years of age will be eligible for a grant without their parents’ income being taken into account. However you may not get any grant if you start work on your property without the Local Authority approving your application.
You will be paid either through instalments as the work is being undertaken, or in full, when the work is complete. Your council may pay the contractors themselves, or give you a cheque to pass on. This will be agreed when the Authority approves your application.
Am I eligible?
You are eligible if you or someone you live with is disabled (‘substantially and permanently handicapped’). Either you or the applicant must:
- own the property or be a tenant; and
- intend to live in the property during the grant period (which currently stands at five years).
You can also apply for a grant if you are a landlord and have a disabled tenant. The Local Authority needs to be happy that the work which is to be undertaken is:
- both necessary and appropriate to meet the disabled person’s needs; and
- reasonable and can be done – this can depend on the age and condition of the property.
The Local Authority may ask you to employ a qualified architect or surveyor to plan and oversee the work. If you get a grant, you can use it towards the cost of the fees.
How do I claim?
You will need to find out:
- what changes are needed to your property;
- the type of work that needs to be done; and
- the cost of the work.
An occupational therapist can evaluate your situation and recommend the type of changes needed.
To get an application form, you should contact the housing or environmental health department of your Local Authority. They will normally require at least two written estimates for the work and may be able to give you a list of builders or advise you about employing one. You will get the result of your application in writing within six months of the application date.
If you have received a decision you are unhappy with, you can appeal your decision and your Local Authority should provide details of how to appeal. If you remain dissatisfied with the decision, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.
Making changes to your home and applying for funding can seem daunting. If you need any further information about care or funding for vulnerable people, please contact Jess.