Disabled Facilities Grant

A Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is a grant to help people living in the private sector with the cost of adapting their homes to enable them to continue living there. This is a mandatory grant for works that have been recommended as essential and necessary by an Occupational Therapist.

Examples of eligible works include:

  • A stairlift
  • A walk in shower
  • Ramped access to the property
  • Widening of doorways
  • An extension to your property where there are no alternatives means of providing access to essential facilities.

Who is Eligible?

  • Any homeowners (including park homes, private renting and Housing Association tenants).
  • A means test will be employed to assess whether applicants will need to make a contribution towards the cost of the works.
  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance   (not contribution-based ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance  (not contribution-based JSA)
  • Guarantee Pension Credit (not Savings Pension Credit alone)
  • Working Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit (where your annual income for the purposes of the tax credits assessment was below £15,050)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Parents can make an application on behalf of their disabled child under the age of 16 and will not be subjected to a means test.

How to apply

For all enquiries regarding your suitability for a Disabled Facilities Grant you should contact your local Occupational Therapist via the following routes by phoning Private Sector Housing on 01962 840 222 or email _privatesectorhousing@winchester.gov.uk

or contact directly by the routes below

OT Direct
Telephone: 0300 555 1378
Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm and Fridays 8.30am to 4.30pm
Fax: 01329 282534
Minicom: 0845 603 5625 
Email: OTDirect@hants.gov.uk

Frequently asked questions about housing adaptations

Who can apply for this grant and how?

Anyone can apply for this grant, whether they are a homeowner, private tenant or housing association tenant.  The applicant should contact their local authority for advice on how to apply for a disabled facilities grant.

What are the grants for?

Eligible work is wide-ranging, providing for access to the home and basic facilities within it, for example: providing ramps, door widening, stair lifts and level access showers. The grant is subject to an assessment of need and a financial means test. Children and young persons are exempt from the means test. In England the current maximum limit for the grant is £30,000.

Who qualifies for a grant?

The local authority determines whether the applicant is entitled to receive grant assistance.

How is Disabled Facilities Grant calculated?

The grant is means tested to ensure that those in the most need get the most help. It is determined by the income and capital of the disabled person and their spouse/partner. It takes into account the person's average weekly income and any savings above a set amount.

If the person's resources are below a certain level a full grant will be paid. People in receipt of certain benefits such as Housing/Council Tax Benefit, Income Support or Pension Guarantee Credit may be entitled to a full grant.

If the work is for a disabled child, the means test does not apply
There are 4 stages to the test:
1. Assess how much the household needs to live on. This is referred to as 'allowable income' and is calculated using a set of standard allowances for living costs using basic amounts of income support and housing benefit.
2. The 'allowable income' is compared with their actual income to see if they have any 'surplus' income they could use to pay off a loan. If the household is in receipt of any means tested benefits, they are automatically 'passported' through and awarded a 100 per cent grant even if they have some small surplus income according to this calculation.
3. For those not in receipt of means tested benefits, the size of the loan is determined by calculating what they can afford to pay off using their 'surplus' income. The calculations assume a loan period of 10 years for owner occupiers and 5 years for tenants at a standard rate of interest and incorporate 'tapers'.
4. The size of the loan is then compared with what could be afforded with the cost of the work needed to see whether they qualify for a grant. If the calculated loan amount is the same or greater than the cost of the adaptations, they do not get any grant. If the loan amount is less than the cost of works, the amount of grant is calculated as the total cost of works minus the calculated loan amount.

How much grant is available?

The maximum grant the applicant can receive is £30,000 in England less any contribution required after the means test.

How long does it take to agree a grant?

Once the local authority has received a full application, they have six months in which to notify the applicant if the grant has been approved and for how much. They then have a further twelve months in which to pay the grant. A full application is an application that contains the required amount of estimates for the work (usually two) and any other paperwork required by the applicants local authority. The local authority will notify the applicant when the application is considered full and valid.

Can an applicant start work before the grant is approved?

No, the applicant should not start the works before the application has been approved unless the local authority has agreed. Local authorities have no powers to pay for works that have already been completed.
Getting the work done
The local authority will advise on the amount of grant the applicant will receive and any contribution the applicant may be required to make towards the works. In most cases, the local authority will also write to the builder/contractor to advise them they have won the contract. The applicant will then have up to twelve months in which to get the works completed.

The applicant will then need to contact their builder/contractor to discuss a start date.

The work must not begin before until the applicants receive their approval document.

Once the work is complete the local authority will make a final inspection to ensure it has been completed satisfactorily and the grant monies can be paid.

How is the grant paid?

The local authority may pay the grant in instalments as the work progresses or once all the work has been completed. The grant is paid when the local authority is satisfied that the work has been satisfactorily completed and in accordance with the grant approval.

Grants can only be paid on provision of appropriate invoices, safety certificates, warranties and completion notices.

The grant is usually paid directly to the builder/contractor. The grant cannot be paid retrospectively.

Are there any conditions applied to the grant?

A general consent was introduced in May 2008 which enables local authorities to place limited charges on adapted properties of owner occupiers where the cost the DFG exceeds £5,000, limited to a maximum charge of £10,000. This consent provides the local authorities the discretion to impose a limited charge on the property, if it is sold within ten years –

What other fees and ancillary costs can be included?

In addition to the actual costs of carrying out works of improvement or repair, other charges necessarily incurred in undertaking grant-aided works are also eligible for grant. These preliminary or ancillary services or charges are specified in the Housing Renewal Grants (Services and Charges) Order 1996 made under section 2(3) of the 1996 Act.

They include costs such as architects' and surveyors' fees and charges for planning permission or building regulations approvals. Fees for the professional services of an occupational therapist engaged by the applicant to advise on what works are required are also eligible. This does not include the costs of an occupational therapist acting on behalf of the social services authority in the discharge of their responsibilities under section 24(3)(a) of the 1996 Act (or any other enactment). Charges made by agency services for advising on or assisting with a client's application will also be admissible expenses.

Information about the fees towards which grant is sought are required as part of an application and authorities must determine which of these are eligible for grant in the same way as they assess the eligible works. In doing so they should consider the reasonableness of the fees and whether they are properly incurred. As with the works themselves, the payment of grant in respect of these fees is dependent on the provision of a satisfactory receipt or invoice.

Can successive applications be made?

For disabled people whose conditions are degenerative, further adaptations to their home to cater for their deteriorating condition may become necessary at a later date. Chapter I, Part I of the 1996 Act places no express restriction on successive applications for DFG on the same property. In such cases and depending on the time lapse between the successive applications, provision is made in the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations 1996 to reduce the amount of an applicant's current contribution.

What provisions are made for ex-service personnel?

A disregard introduced in December 2008 ensures that ex-Service personnel seriously injured in the line of duty and who receive Ministry of Defence (MOD) compensation for their suffering, will not be denied DFG assistance for adaptations of their home. The disregard applies to those in receipt of War Pensions Scheme (WPS) for disablement of 80 per cent or higher and in receipt of a Constant Attendance Allowance and those that receive an Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) lump sum payment (tariff 1-6).

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