Advice Column: Disabled Facilities Grant
I have a disability and I am struggling to live independently. Can I get any help with the costs of adapting my home?
A disabled facilities grant is a grant that you can get from your local authority for work that is essential to help a disabled person live an independent life. You can, for example, get a disabled facilities grant for the following things:-
- making it easier to get in and out of your home, for example, by widening doors or providing ramps
- making it easier to get to a living room, bedroom, toilet, bathroom or kitchen, for example, by putting in a stairlift, or providing a downstairs bathroom
- making it easier or safer to get access to your garden
- providing suitable bathroom or kitchen facilities
- providing or improving a heating system
- ensuring your safety, for example, by providing a specially adapted room in which it would be safe to leave you unattended, or by providing improved lighting for better visibility
- helping you get around at home so you can care for someone who lives with you and needs care.
A local authority must give you a disabled facilities grant if you meet the conditions for getting one.
Applying for a disabled facilities grant
Owner-occupiers, landlords, tenants, licensees, and occupiers of some houseboats and park homes can apply for a disabled facilities grant, provided the work is for the benefit of a disabled person who lives or will live in the property.
To apply for a disabled facilities grant, you need to fill in a form which you can get from your local authority. They may ask for information and/or for tests to be carried out before you make a formal application. You may also need to get approval for building regulations, planning, listed building or conservation area purposes.
Your local authority may have a list of local architects, surveyors and builders who specialise in renovation work which you could ask to see when choosing a contractor for the work to your home. If you intend to carry out the work yourself, you will not be able to claim for the cost of your labour.
Once you have applied for a grant, your local authority must tell you about its decision in writing as soon as it can, and no later than six months after you applied.
Qualifying for a disabled facilities grant
You can only get a disabled facilities grant if the work you need done on your home is:-
- necessary and appropriate to meet your needs. Your local authority will normally ask an occupational therapist for their opinion on whether or not you need the work done; and
- reasonable and practical, given the age of your home and the condition it is in. For example, if your home is in a serious state of disrepair, it might not be practical to do the work you need.
If you live in rented accommodation and are applying for a disabled facilities grant for work to a communal area of the property in which you live, you should make sure that you are responsible for doing the work. If your landlord is responsible for doing the work, you will not be able to get a grant. Your landlord may be able to apply for a grant instead.
How much grant will you get
A disabled facilities grant will be no more than £30,000 in England. However, your local authority can top up this up. The amount of grant you get depends on your income and savings, unless the work is to meet the needs of a disabled person under 16, or in some cases, over 16 but under 19.
Getting a disabled facilities grant if you live in rented accommodation
If you rent your home and apply to your local authority for a disabled facilities grant, you will need to get your landlord’s permission before your local authority will agree to help you. However, your landlord must not refuse permission without a very good reason. If you need to make changes to your home because of your disability, your landlord should agree to this unless they have a good reason for not doing so. If your landlord doesn’t agree, this could be disability discrimination and they could be breaking the law. This rule doesn’t apply in some cases where the landlord lives in the same property as you.
If you need to make certain changes to your home because of your disability, your landlord may be responsible for making them. This rule doesn’t apply in some cases where the landlord lives in the same property as you.
If your home is in need of repair, your landlord may also be responsible for doing them.
Your local authority can offer different types of help with home improvements – not just disabled facilities grants. It will have its own rules about the types of help it will offer, and about the conditions you must meet in order to qualify for help. Please contact them for more information.
If you would like help with applying for a disabled facilities grant, you can consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a local Citizens Advice.