Disabled Facilities Grants
A Disabled Facilities Grant is a local council grant. It helps towards the cost of adapting your home to enable you to continue to live there. A grant is paid when the council considers that changes are necessary to meet your needs, and that the work is reasonable and practical.
Who can get a Disabled Facilities Grant
You can claim if you, or someone living in your property, is disabled and:
• you, or the person on whose behalf you are applying, are either the owner or tenant (including licensees) of the property
• you can certify that you, or the person on whose behalf you are applying, intend to occupy the property as your/their only or main residence throughout the grant period - currently five years
A landlord may apply on behalf of a disabled tenant.
Disabled Facilities Grants are available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland only. Scottish residents should contact the social services department of their local council for information on any grants that may be available.
What you can use it form/b>
A grant can be used to give you better freedom of movement into and around your home and/or to provide essential facilities within it.
If you are disabled, acceptable types of work include:
• widening doors and installing ramps
• providing or improving access to rooms and facilities - for example, by installing a stair lift or providing a downstairs bathroom
• improving or providing a heating system which is suitable for your needs
• adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use
• improving access to and movement around the home to enable you to care for another person who lives in the property, such as a child
An occupational therapist will look at your circumstances and can recommend the type of adaptation(s) needed.
How much you can get
The amount paid is usually based on a financial assessment - a 'means test' - of your average weekly income in relation to your outgoings. There is no means testing for families of disabled children under 19.
Means testing will take into account savings above a certain limit. Certain benefits including Disability Living Allowance and Income Support are generally ignored.
If you have a partner, your combined income will be assessed jointly. Capital is included in the means test. The first £6,000 of savings is disregarded.
A range of premiums and allowances is used for all essential outgoings, for example, rent/mortgage and personal expenditure. Actual outgoings are not taken into consideration.
Depending on the outcome of this assessment the amount of financial assistance offered can vary from zero to 100 per cent of the cost.
How the award is worked out
The award works as follows:
• if your income is less than your assessed needs you will not normally need to contribute to the cost of the works
• if your income is more than your assessed needs, a proportion of your income will be used to calculate how much you could contribute towards the cost of the works
• if this assessed amount is less than the cost of the works, the difference between the two is paid as a Disabled Facilities Grant
Maximum grant amount
The maximum amount of grant that a council is required to pay is:
• £30,000 in England per application (less any assessed contribution from you)
• £36,000 in Wales per application (less any assessed contribution from you)
If the cost of the eligible works is more, the council can use discretionary powers to increase the amount.
Effect on other benefits
A Disabled Facilities Grant will not affect any benefits you are currently receiving.
Disabled Facilities Grants - how to apply
Applicants for a Disabled Facilities Grant need to be assessed by an Occupational Therapist (OT). This is so the local authority can make a decision about whether you're eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant. If the OT recommends an adaptation then a recommendation will be passed to the local authority. The local authority will then consider whether you meet the criteria for a disabled facilities grant.
You can also contact the housing or environmental health department of your local council and ask them to send you an application form.
You must apply for a grant before you start any work. You won't normally get any grant if you start work before the council approves the application.
The local council must notify you of the result of your application, in writing, within six months of the date of application.
Applying for a Disabled Facilities Grant
The decision to award a Disabled Facilities Grant is made by your local council.
Planning and building regulations approval
As with any building works, you'll need to apply separately for any required planning permission or building regulations approval.
It is important to ensure that the work gets done properly. For major work, the council 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 their fees.
Your local council has no responsibility for the standard of work carried out by a builder. If there are any problems with the standard of work, you will have to deal with them yourself. There are tips about finding a good builder, plumber etc. in the home and community section of this website.
Repairs, planning and building regulations (home and community section)
How is the grant paid?
The grant is sometimes paid in instalments, and sometimes in full on completion of the work. The council may pay the contractor directly, or give you a cheque to pass on. They will agree this with you at the outset.
Payments are made:
• when the council is satisfied that the work (or phase of work) has been completed to their satisfaction and in accordance with the grant approval
• on presentation of an acceptable invoice, demand or receipt for payment of works
If the work was carried out by the applicant or a relative, only invoices for materials or services bought are acceptable.
How to appeal
If you are refused a Disabled Facilities Grant, or are unhappy with the amount you have been awarded, you can appeal against the decision. Ask your local council for their appeals and complaints procedure.
If, after having appealed to the council, you are still not happy with the outcome, you may register your complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman.
To make or enquire about an application, you need to contact your local council.