A look at how the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is used to help people living with a disability make changes to their home.
In a previous article, we discussed how, following a serious injury, the cost of house adaptations often forms part of a person’s compensation claim.
This follow on article, looks at how the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is used to help people living with a disability make changes to their home.
What is the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)?
Adaptations are changes made to a home, to make it safer and more accessible. If you or a loved one are living with a disability, you may be entitled to the DFG, which is a grant from the council to cover the costs of any work that may need to be carried out.
It was designed to reduce the number of hospital and care admissions and speed up a person’s return home, enabling them to live as independently as possible.
Changes can include widening doors, installing ramps, stairlifts, relocating a bathroom to the ground floor, installing a suitable heating system, or adapting heating and lighting controls to make them easier use.
How much can you get from the DFG to make home adaptations?
The grant is means-tested for people over the age of 18 and depends on household income and savings, it also considers the amount of work that needs to be done. In some cases (depending on income) you may need to pay towards the cost of the adaptations to your property.
|Country||Grant (upper limits)|
|England||Up to £30,000|
|Wales||Up to £36,000|
|Northern Ireland||Up to £25,000|
*The Scheme of Assistance is available in Scotland.
Does the DFG increase every year?
UK council funding through Disabled Facilities Grant is currently at a 10-year high and last year they were used to support 53,500 people in the UK, with councils in Yorkshire and The Humber spending the most on DFG’s (averaging £2,391,541 per year).*
In 2019, organisations called on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, to increase the funding, however it was confirmed in February 2020 that there would not be any increase from 2019, and that the amount would stay at £505m.
How long should you have to wait for a DFG?
By law, six months should be the maximum waiting time for a decision, with work completed within the following year. However, recent findings by leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire have found that some people have been waiting for two years or more following council approval for any accommodation adaptations to be made.
Recent cases include the family of a young boy from Doncaster who lives with severe disabilities. His family had to wait for three years for the council to approve the special adaptations needed to their home.
The adaptations that were needed, included a hoist between rooms and making the ground floor bathroom more accessible. Delays happened when the council panel disagreed with the occupational therapist’s recommendations regarding the size of the extension needed to accommodate the adaptations.
What is becoming increasingly clear, is that the amount available from the DFG is no longer in line with the costs of making adaptations to homes. An Independent Review of the Disabled Facilities Grant 2018 has made a number of recommendations, including increasing the upper limits.
The overall aim of the review is to make the DFG fit for purpose for the next 30 years and beyond.
It is vital that accessible, adapted homes are built as soon as it is possible, as a safe and functional home can truly transform the lives of a person living with a disability and their family.
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