The secret pot of money to help you stay in your home
The Disabled Facilities Grant is claimed to be the best kept secret of the welfare system. It is also a growing pot.
Government funding for adaptations to your home, to enable you to continue to live there with little or no care intervention, has more than doubled in less than five years.
The budget for 2019/20 stands at £500m, with the average total available per household at £30,000(*). Although Government money, it is administrated by the local authority. It can cover a myriad of things, big and small. The over-riding requirements that the work is necessary and appropriate to meet the disabled person’s needs, is reasonable, and can be done: in essence, changes to your home that enable the disabled person to live an independent life.
It can be something as small as adding a grab rail or two, upgrading your heating so you can keep warm this winter, making doorways wider and/or level access, or changing the toilet so you can ‘go’ when you want, safely, hygienically and with dignity. Indeed, the bathroom is the most commonly adapted room in a home, with the toilet being the fixture most often affected- even if it’s a change of seat or WC height.
What is little known too is who can apply: if you, or someone living in your property is disabled, then you can apply.
You could be the owner occupier, a tenant, a housing association or a private landlord. If renting your home, you will need the landlord’s permission. Good grounds would be needed to justify refusal, as otherwise it could be seen that the landlord is breaking disability discrimination/ equality laws.
The least you can do is ask. As the old adage goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get! Research indicates that few Councils make the applications forms easily available, so asking is most likely something you will have to do.
Also, to quote Take That, have a little patience: legally, Councils have to make a decision on your application within six months, and pay the funds within 12 months.
BY Robin Tuffley,
Closomat marketing manager
(*) the payment varies: £30,000 in England, £25,000 in Northern Ireland, and £26,000 in Wales. Scotland the sum is totally at the Council’s discretion.