Disabled Facilities Grant UK

I live in Birmingham UK.

I know someone who is retired. She is able to live independently without the need for carers. Yet as she gets older she has increasing difficulty with mobility.

Stairs are a major problem. As with many people, her bedroom and bathroom are upstairs. She has a mobility scooter which she would use if she could just get it in and out of the front door and down the two steps.

Social services helped to a degree, installing handrails to the stairs and to the front of the house, with a metal handrail along the path. This helped for a while but no longer enabled her to get on with life.

As you may imagine, she wondered what the future would hold. Would she be able to stay in her home of many years or would she have to move to perhaps sheltered accommodation?

We looked for any help that may be available. We discovered the Disabled Facilities Grant. I had not heard of this before and was surprised at the support it can offer. I want to share this with you as it could make such a difference. It is based on our understanding and experience of it only, so please seek appropriate advice if you think it may apply to you.

This information is taken from the government website.

You could get a grant from your council if you’re disabled and need to make changes to your home, for example to:

widen doors and install 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

A Disabled Facilities Grant won’t affect any benefits you get.

I kept reading:

How much you get depends on your: household income, household savings over £6,000.

In England you can get up to £30,000, Wales up to £36,000 and in Northern Ireland up to £25,000. (The disabled Facilities Grant is not available in Scotland, although I believe other support is available for equipment and adaptations.)

To be eligible, you or someone living in the property must be disabled. It applies to both owned and rented property. You must be intending to live in the property for the grant period which is currently 5 years.

The council needs to be happy that the work is:

  • necessary and appropriate to meet the disabled person’s needs
  • reasonable and can be done – depending on the age and condition of the property

We live in Birmingham and we were amazed at how easy it was to apply. In June we made the first enquiry to the council. A week later there was a telephone assessment. About three weeks later there was a face to face meeting to assess physical needs and also the suitability of the property for adaptations.

The adaptations have now been confirmed. A lift will be installed from the living room into the bedroom upstairs. The bathroom will be adapted to enable easier access to bathing facilities. Access to the front of the house will be make wheelchair/mobility scooter accessible.

Contractors have been in to take measurements and all the other things they need to know. We are told that work should start in September/October.

These adaptations will enable the recipient to remain independent in her home for a good while to come. The process was painless and efficient.

If you already know about this grant, apologies for telling you what you knew. If you haven’t heard of it, like I hadn’t, it may be worth checking out. Find further details on  https://www.gov.uk/disabled-facilities-grants

For support available in Scotland, try support for equipment and adaptations

Written by Portland Jones, Disability Liaison for Pagan Federation Midlands.