Whether you own or rent your home, you may be eligible for a disabled facility grant. This can be an extremely valuable allowance for those who require elements of their property to be adapted for use by individuals with access requirements or mobility issues. So – might you, or a member of your household, be eligible for this grant? Read on to find out how to check, and how to go on to apply.
Do I Qualify and Can I Apply?
There are many elements of household improvement that you can achieve with the help of a disabled facilities grant. Gov.uk gives a few examples, which include: widening doors and installing ramps, improving access to rooms and facilities – e.g. installing stairlifts or a downstairs bathroom, providing a heating system suitable for your needs, or adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use. Anyone with a long-term debilitating illness or disability can qualify for a disabled facility grant. HMRC considers a person to be disabled if they have either a physical or mental impairment which has a long term and substantial adverse effect upon your ability to carry out everyday activities, or a condition which the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (otherwise known as a long-term health condition). The applicant must either be the resident of the property in question, or its owner. It’s fine for landlords to apply on behalf of tenants. Parents of disabled children can also apply. The main factors that local councils consider when deciding who will be awarded these grants is whether each application will go towards changes that are necessary, appropriate, reasonable and practicable. They will usually consult an occupational therapist to ensure that the proposed adaptations are suitable for the prospective recipient’s needs, and will also check the building’s specifications to clarify whether the structure is capable of supporting the required new elements. Once the “green light” has been given for these aspects, an applicant will qualify for the grant.
How Does It Work Financially?
You can claim up to £30,000 in England or £36,000 in Wales. Separate systems exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The disabled facilities grant is means tested, meaning that every recipient’s income and capital, and that of their partner or spouse, will be taken into consideration while the council is processing their application. The money needs to be distributed fairly, and those with the greatest need and the lowest income are naturally prioritised. Of course, an application relating to a child or young person under the age of nineteen is not subject to a means test. The council compares the data generated by each means test against a template that shows the basic needs that must be met. If the results of the applicant’s test come in below or at the same level as what is shown on the template, they will not be required to make any contribution towards the costs of the changes. The same is usually relevant for those applicants who are in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance or state pension credit. If the prospective recipient of the grant reveals that their income and capital constitutes an amount that is greater than that shown on the template, they will be required to make a contribution towards the work that is to be done. The contribution is calculated depending on the cost of the works themselves.
How Do I Start My Application?
First of all, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t apply for a disabled facility grant after you’ve started relevant work on your house, as it could affect the eligibility of your application. In order to apply, you just need to visit the page on gov.uk entitled Apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Simply enter your postcode and you’ll be directed to the relevant area of your local council’s website. Otherwise, you can attend one of the regular drop-in clinics held by the Citizens Advice Bureau or your local council, or as an alternative, you can usually write directly to your relevant council department.
There are other ways in which you can apply to save money on home improvements and adjustments too. Many companies, including domestic facilities adaptation specialists, will remove the VAT from products that you are purchasing if you are able to provide them with an official VAT exemption form provided by HMRC. Adaptio, specialists in accessible bathroom fittings, are just one of the companies who honour this.
For further information about disabled facilities grants, see this handy document provided by gov.uk.