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Disabled Facilities Grants – Could you be entitled?

3rd August 2021

Disabled Facilities Grants – Could you be entitled?

Jenny Tetlow, a Solicitor in the Higgs LLP Clinical Negligence team, shines the light on the financial assistance available to disabled people for home improvements.

If you have a disability – or you live with someone who does – you will be well aware of how expensive it can be to carry out the required home adaptations.

Whether it’s ramps, wider doors, grabrails or stair lifts, the costs associated with making a property suitable for a disabled person can quickly spiral.

What many people don’t realise, however, is that they might be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant from their local council.

These grants have been introduced to assist with the cost of home adaptations, right from low level insertions such as lever taps to larger projects like wet rooms or ground floor extensions. Helpfully, these grants do not affect any other benefits you may be entitled to.  

Are you eligible? 

  • There must be a disabled person living in the household

  • The property must be privately owned

  • The applicant must either own the property or be a tenant. Therefore, landlords who have a disabled tenant are eligible to apply

  • The disabled resident must intend to live in the property for 5 years, which is the current length of the grant period

  • The relevant local council needs to be satisfied that the work requested is needed to meet the disabled resident’s specific needs. The proposed adaptations need to be both reasonable and achievable

  • Applicants cannot claim for the cost of adaptations retrospectively, and the local council may refuse a grant in these circumstances

How much could you receive? 

In England, the maximum amount an applicant can receive is £30,000. In Wales, applicants could receive up to £36,000, whereas applicants in Northern Ireland could receive up to £25,000. 

The amount awarded will vary in accordance with the individual’s circumstances as the grant is means tested for adults. As such, the council will take into account household income and household savings over £6,000. However, disabled children under 18 can receive a grant without their parents’ income being considered. 

It should be noted that if the cost of the work exceeds the relevant maximum figure, the local authority has the discretion to provide further financial help in certain circumstances. Therefore, if a particular adaptation is required which exceeds the maximum amount for your region, it is worthwhile speaking to someone at your local council to see if any additional help is available.  

How do you apply? 

The application process will vary depending on your particular council. If you would like to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant, then it is crucial that you contact your local authority for further information before any work is commenced. 

As an example of the process, the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council requires potential applicants to first undergo an assessment and recommendation by an Occupational Therapist. 

The Council strives to make the process as streamlined and user-friendly as possible by assigning each applicant a caseworker and technical project officer to guide you through the process. As a general rule, minor adaptations costing under £500 are provided free of charge by the Dudley Council. Anything costing over £500 (for which a Disabled Facilities Grant is required) is subject to a means assessment. 

For more help and advice, please visit the Spinal Injuries Association Website. The Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team at Higgs LLP are proud partners with the SIA. 

 

 

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