Many parents of children with physical disabilities are unaware of the financial assistance which may be available to them to make life at home easier for their child. The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is a scheme run by local councils. The purpose of the grant is to help to provide facilities which make it easier for a child to move around the home and be more independent, or to enable the parents to look after the child more easily.
What is covered?
It all depends on individual circumstances, but work which might be covered includes widening doorways, building a ramp or installing a stairlift. In some cases a grant might even be available towards the cost of building an extension, for example to create a downstairs easy access bathroom.
The application process
In order to apply for the DFG, you will need to meet the following conditions:
- You must be a resident of England, Wales or Northern Ireland;
- Your child must have a disability;
- You must own or rent the property and you must declare that you intend to continue to live in it for the next five years.
The maximum amount granted depends on where you live; currently £30,000 in England, £36,000 in Wales and £25,000 in Northern Ireland.
Grants for children aged below 18 years are not subject to means testing on their own or their parents' income. You will need to complete an application form, available from your local council. You will also be asked to provide two estimates from builders for the cost of the work. You can seek advice from an occupational therapist, as to the type of alterations which would be most suitable.
Once you have submitted your application for a DFG, the application will be assessed, and you will subsequently be advised whether your application has been successful or not. You have the right to appeal if you are not satisfied with the decision.
It is important that you don't arrange for any work to start until you have the grant approved, otherwise you may not be awarded any grant. If you plan to carry out the work yourself, you should note that any grant awarded is likely to cover the cost of materials only.
The grant will either be paid to the contractor direct, or you may be given a cheque to forward to the contractor. Payment is made only once the works have been approved as satisfactory.
Note that this information is based on the process for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Full details are available at disabled facilities grants.
If you live in Scotland you should apply to your local council for a grant for disabled home adaptations. You may also be able to get funding via home improvement grants under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987. For further details visit the Scottish Governmental website.