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Disabled Facilities Grants

If a disability is making life difficult for you, or someone living in your house, then you may be entitled to help in the form of a grant or an interest-free loan.

Ramp to a property

Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)

If a disability is making life difficult for you, or someone living in your house, then you may be entitled to help in the form of a grant or an interest-free loan.

Home owners, tenants, occupiers of house boats and park homes, and landlords can apply for this mandatory grant towards the cost of adapting a home to meet the needs of a disabled person.  Applications will only be considered where an occupational therapy assessment has been received. 


The maximum cost of works covered by the grant is £30,000 and depending on the disabled person's financial circumstances, there may be a contribution to make. Where the grant approved is more than £5000, the Council may secure a recoverable charge on the property of up to £10,000. This is registered as a local land charge and will stay in force for 10 years. 

The works can include:

  • Access to and from the home, including the gardens.  For example ramps, pathways and handrails.
  • Making the home safe for the disabled occupant, and others living there.
  • Access to rooms used as a family room, bedroom, kitchen or bathroom.  This can include widening, re-positioning or re-siting doors. Tracking, stair lifts and through floor lifts.
  • Adaptations to toilets, and bathing and washing facilities.  For example wet rooms and specialised toilets.
  • Kitchen alterations to enable the disabled occupant to prepare snacks during the day, and sometimes specialised cookers, ovens, work surfaces and sink units.
  • Improving heating to the rooms and areas normally used by the disabled occupant.
  • Controlling sources of power, heat and light by altering the position of, or providing extra, controls.

There may be other works which can be included and we will always advise you.


Maximum funding for Disabled Facilities

The maximum funding towards a disabled facilities grant is £30,000 less any assessed contribution from the applicant.


Loans to meet an applicant's assessed contribution

If an applicant cannot meet their assessed contribution for a DFG the Council and Essex Social Services will explore the available funding options.

DFG


Who to contact

Before any Disabled Facilities Grant can go forward you need to know whether the proposed works are suitable.  You should contact Social Care Direct at Essex County Council on 0845 603 7630.  If their assessment identifies eligible works then they will send us a copy of the Occupational Therapist's recommendations with a request that we offer financial assistance in the form of a grant or loan.


If you are a Colchester Borough Homes Tenant then you should initially contact Colchester Borough Homes on 01206 282971.

 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


I am (or my partner, or someone living in my home is) disabled and need(s) adaptations carried out (e.g.) a stair lift.  I can't afford it myself, what can I do?

Depending on the nature of the works, you can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant.You must also contact Social Care Direct on 0845 603 7630 so that an Occupational Therapist can arrange to visit your home and assess the physical needs of the disabled person.  They will send a report to the Professional Support Unit detailing their recommendations - this recommendation is essential for the grant/loan to go ahead.


Who can apply for the Disabled Facilities Grant?

The person making the application (The Applicant)  must be 18 years old or more and either:

  • have an owner's interest in the property that is to be adapted. This can be an owner/occupier or a landlord.

  • be a private sector, or housing association tenant.

  • Council tenants should initially contact Colchester Borough Homes on 01206 282971.
     
  • The Applicant does not have to be the disabled person.

In order to determine whether the Applicant will have to make a contribution to the cost of the works a 'means test' is carried out.  This is based on the income and capital of the Relevant Person (the disabled person and their partner, if any).


What works are eligible?

These works qualify for a mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant:

  • Access to and from the home, including the gardens.  For example ramps, pathways and handrails.
  • Making the home safe for the disabled occupant, and others living there.
  • Access to rooms used as a family room, bedroom, kitchen or bathroom.  This can include widening, re-positioning or re-siting doors. Tracking, stair lifts and through floor lifts.
  • Adaptations to toilets, and bathing and washing facilities.  For example wet rooms and specialised toilets.
  • Kitchen alterations to enable the disabled occupant to prepare snacks during the day, and sometimes specialised cookers, ovens, work surfaces and sink units.
  • Improving heating to the rooms and areas normally used by the disabled occupant.
  • Controlling sources of power, heat and light by altering the position of, or providing extra, controls.
  • Facilitating access to and from a garden by a disabled occupant, or making access to a garden safe for a disabled occupant.

There may be other works which can be included and the Private Sector Housing team will always advise you.


How would I pay back the grant?

Providing the disabled person stays in the property for 5 years and the disabled facilities grant is less than £5,000, the monies are not repayable.  Where the grant is more than £5,000 the Council may secure a charge on the property up to a maximum of £10,000.  If the disabled person leaves the property within 10 years then the monies are recoverable.  After this time the charge is removed and no monies are repayable.

For further information see pdf icon Financial Assistance Policy for Private Sector Housing [254kb]


What does the means test involve?

All applications are subject to a standard means test or 'Test of Resources'.

This looks at how much money you need to live for a week.  To work out your weekly needs a standard formula laid down by the Government is used.  The formula takes into account your age, whether or not you have a partner, the number and ages of any dependent children, and whether you or a member of your household has a disability.

The means test compares your weekly needs with your ability to meet those needs from your income and capital.  If your income and capital are greater than your needs, you will be expected to make a contribution towards the cost of the works. 

If a loan applicant is claiming Income Support or Guaranteed Pension Credit, there is no need to carry out another means test as the Benefit Agency has already done this.  In this case the applicant would not be expected to make any contribution.

An initial means test is carried out based on the information provided on your enquiry form.  No checks are made on this information at this stage.

If an applicant or Relevant Person applying for a Disabled Facilities Grant is claiming Income Support or Guaranteed Pension Credit, there is no need to carry out another means test as the Benefit Agency has already done this.  In this case the applicant would not be expected to make any contribution.

PLEASE NOTE:
A means test is not carried out where an application is for works that are for the benefit of a child or young person, i.e., under 16 years old, or under 19 years old and still in full time education.

See pdf icon Financial Assistance Policy for Private Sector Housing [254kb]


Can you do the means test over the phone?

No, this is not possible due to the amount of detail required and the time it takes to carry out the means test.


How much can I have in savings before I have a contribution?

There is not a set amount. An individual means test is carried out depending on each person's needs and circumstances.


What happens after the initial means test?

You will be advised, in writing, whether or not you would be expected to make a contribution towards the cost of the works.  This letter will include a Survey Request Form, asking you to return it and confirm whether or not you wish to continue with your grant application. If you go ahead, an officer will be assigned to your case. He/she will contact you and make an appointment to inspect your property.


How long will it all take?

On average the entire grant process takes between 6 and 18 months.


Can you recommend a contractor?

No. We don't have a list of approved contractors.


Do I have to pay the contractor up front once I have found one?

No. Once the works are completed you should forward any invoices from your contractors, to your assigned officer, so that payment can be made.  The works will be inspected and, if they are satisfactory, payment will normally be made direct to the contractor. Where the works are extensive up to three stage payments may be made.


IMPORTANT:
Do not instruct a contractor to begin works until you have received formal approval of any grant or loan.


If you need any further advice or help then please email: grantsandloans.support@colchester.gov.uk