15 November 2018
A number of disability grants for home improvement are available, but funding options and scope of works do vary. We’ve broken down the types of funding that are available, what type of work is covered and the steps you can take to apply. Additionally, we’re going to explain Disabled Facilities Grant legislation, disability grants for moving house and the VAT exemption schemes available for the elderly and or disabled.
There are two government grants that are available for those with a disability and/or physical condition:
> Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)
> Minor Adaptations Grant
The Disabled Facilities Grant is funding provided by your local council to help to financially support adaptations around the home for those living with a disability. These grants are not available for people who are merely elderly - the Disabled Facilities Grant is only suitable for disabled people people within the meaning of the National Assistance Act 1948.
As with all disability grants for home improvement, you must get in contact with your local council to start the application process. Depending on what you are applying for, it is likely an occupational therapist will first visit you at home to assess your needs and requirements.
The funding process, structure and the adaptations covered varies between each council.
with some operating on a tender basis and others employing a preferred scheme approach.
Note that if you start work before your application is approved, you might not get your grant.
Yes, Disabled Facilities Grants are means tested. As it’s means tested, this means that some people may have to pay part of the way towards the disabled adaptations.
The means test will consider the disabled person’s net income and savings, and if you live with a spouse or cohabiting partner, their financial circumstances will be assessed too. If your income is over a certain threshold, you’ll pay more towards the total cost; if it’s below the threshold, you’ll be able to access the full cost of required adjustments, up to the mandatory maximum of £30,000.
If you’re applying on behalf of a disabled child under the age of 18, your application will not be means tested.
If you are a homeowner or a tenant and based in England you can apply for a grant of up to £30,000.
Your income and savings will be reviewed through a means test which will ultimately decide if you are eligible for a grant and to what value.
If approved, it’s likely that your council will operate under one of the following funding structures:
A tender process is where a specification is created once your needs have been assessed. This specification will then be sent out to tender to a handful of local home adaptation companies. Once all prices are submitted, the council will choose which company is best suited to carry out the work.
If your council operates a preferred scheme approach, they will assess your needs in a similar manner and create you a specification for the works they believe are required. In line with this they will notify you of how much funding you will receive. It is then up to you to choose a contractor to complete the work.
Depending on your local council’s disabled facilities grant legislation, funding is only paid, whether directly to the contractor (tender) or to yourself (preferred scheme) when the council has inspected and is happy with the work that has been carried out.
Payment will be made to you either in instalments or in full when the work is complete, and the contractor may be paid directly by the council, or you’ll pass on their cheque. In either instance the council will require an invoice and a receipt for payment from the contractor.
Disabled Facilities Grant legislation states to qualify you must own the property or be a tenant where the adaptations will be carried out. Whether a tenant or homeowner, you must also live or plan to live in the property for five years.
It’s important to note that disabled facilities grant legislation varies between each council.
If you are a tenant, you must gain written permission from your landlord before applying for the disabled facilities grant to make any adaptations within in any area of the home. Alternatively, your landlord may apply on your behalf.
If you are a landlord and wish to adapt your home for a tenant, work must be reasonable and practical to be carried out. This will be determined by social services. Adaptations must also be necessary and appropriate (determined by the housing department) to meet your disabled tenant’s needs.
Alternatively,if you don’t qualify for the disabled facility grant, you can ask your landlord to make adjustments around your home.
If you rent your home and qualify under the Equality Act 2021 you may have the right to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ within you’re your home to help you live there with your disability.
Reasonable adjustments include ‘auxiliary aids’ which include portable support aids or temporary adaptations such as a free-standing bath lift, tap turners and temporary grab rails.
You can ask your landlord for these adaptations if they would stop you being at a ‘substantial disadvantage’ in your home. More information can be found here
Similar to the Disabled Facilities Grant, if you require funding help for smaller adaptations and disability equipment (under £1,000) you can also apply for a minor adaptations grant with your local council.
Funds will be granted if your local council feels you are eligible for the work and may also be means tested.
Similar to the Disabled Facilities Grants application process you must get in contact with your local council to be considered.
Whether you choose to apply for a disabled facilities grant or a minor adaptations grant, there are several home adaptation options available to help make daily life easier.
> Installation Of Disabled Bathrooms
> Door Widening For Easy Access
> Lighting Improvement Installations
> Heating Improvement Installations
> Installation Of External Ramps
> Installation Of Stair and Through Floor Lifts
> Kitchen improvements to facilitate food preparation
> Improving access to a garden/garden safety
> Grab Rails
> Adapted Beds And Chairs
> Shower Stools And Bath Seats
> Mobile And Ceiling Mounted Hoists
> Raised Toilet Seats And Commodes
> Level Taps And Thermostatically Controlled Mixers
As long as you are found to be eligible, your local authority will normally provide you with adaptations such as the above free of charge, costing up to £1000.
The Disabled Facilities Grant may cover fitting a wet room, if your council deems it necessary and appropriate and reasonable and practicable.
There are currently no disability grants for moving house but the Disabled Facilities Grant can help with house adaptations once you have moved into a new home. Contact your local council once you’re settled.
If you don’t qualify for any of the government disability grants for home improvement, don’t worry, financial support is still available in the form of VAT exemption. This will help you to save money on the overall cost of your house adaptation.
If you suffer from any physical conditions such as arthritis or have had a stroke, you may qualify for VAT exemption.
The 0% disabled VAT scheme in relation to grants for home adaptations for the disabled covers the supply and installation of:
> Accessible Showers
> Mobility Wet Rooms
> Door Widening
> Kitchen Adaptations
To qualify for the 0% Disabled VAT exemption, you must fill out a form that details your disability and or physical condition. No doctor's note or therapist sign off is required.
If you are over the age of 60 but don’t have a disability or physical condition that qualifies for 0% VAT exemption, you may qualify for 5% VAT exemption on the supply and installation of:
> A Walk-In Bath
> Access Ramps
> Grab Rails
At More Ability we are backed by both the 0% and 5% government schemes and have a dedicated pricing and VAT exemption page on our website where you can find out more.
Specialising in the design and installation of bathroom adaptations, ensuring you can remain safe and independent within your home. If you are unsuccessful in your application for a Disabled Facilities Grant but still want to explore your VAT exemption options with regards to bathing solutions, you can book a design appointment online, visit one of our showrooms or call us to speak to one of our experts.