Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG)
If you or someone living in your property is disabled, you may qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant towards the cost of adapting your home.
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) are provided in accordance with the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended).
How much is the DFG?
Up to £30,000 to cover the cost of adaptations, VAT and any fees.
Applicants have to complete a Test of Resources so that we make sure our help goes to those in the most financial need. If the adaptation is for a child or young person aged 19 or under in full time education, a Test of Resources is not carried out. People in receipt of certain income-related benefits will also be 'pass-ported' through the Test of Resources.
Who is eligible for a DFG?
You can claim if you, or someone living in your property, is disabled, and:
you, or the person on whose behalf you are applying, are either the owner or tenant (including licensees) of the property
you can certify that you, or the person on whose behalf you are applying, to the best of your knowledge intend to occupy the property as your/their main residence for the next five years
The applicant must be over the age of 18 so will not necessarily be the disabled person - for example, a parent or guardian will apply for an adaptations for the benefit of a disabled child. A landlord may also apply on behalf of a disabled tenant.
What works will the DFG pay for?
Adaptations that meet one or more of the following criteria:
- to make it easier to get into and out of the home
- to make the home safe for the disabled person and other occupants
- to provide access to, and within, the main family room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom (or washing facilities) or garden
- to improve or provide a heating system, or to adapt heating or lighting controls
- to improve access and movement around the home for a disabled carer
The DFG will only pay for the adaptations assessed by the Council as 'necessary and appropriate' and 'reasonable and practicable'. We work in an incremental way to assess your needs and to assess how we provide the adaptations, to make sure that we don't 'over-provide' adaptations and undermine your independence. If you decide to carry out further works, or want the adaptations providing in a different way, you can top-up the grant by paying the difference in costs between our recommendation and your proposed scheme.
For example, if your needs can be met within the existing floor space by converting a ground floor room into a bedroom (say, £10,000) but you decide that you want an extension instead (say, £22,000), we would contribute the equivalent value of converting the ground floor room, and you would pay the rest. In this example, you would pay £12,000.
Does the Council have to give a DFG?
We have to apply three tests to decide whether a DFG can be given:
- Is the adaptation 'necessary and appropriate' to meet the disabled person's needs?
- Is the adaptation 'reasonable and practicable', taking into account the nature, layout, age and condition of the property?
- Based on a Test of Resources, does the applicant qualify financially?
These tests are carried out by the Occupational Therapy team and the Housing Standards & Adaptations team. If we are satisfied that all three criteria have been met, then we can approve a grant application. We must make a decision on your grant application no later than 6 months after we receive a valid application. Due to the high demand for adaptations, we sometimes have to delay when we will pay the grant. The legislation says that we can delay payment for up to 12 months from the date the grant is approved.
IMPORTANT! We will not award a DFG for any works started or completed before you receive written grant approval.
What information is needed for the Test of Resources?
If you receive one of the following welfare benefits, we will need a copy of your most recent award letter:
- Pension Credit Guarantee
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit (with an assessable income of no more than £15,050)
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Universal Credit.
If you don't receive any of these welfare benefits, we will need to see evidence of all income, savings, capital and relevant outgoings.
- By income we mean all earnings, pensions, disability benefits, carers benefits, maintenance payments, rental income from tenants or lodgers, student grants and loans, and any other payments that you receive.
- By savings we mean all bank, building society and post office accounts, cash savings, premium bonds, stocks and shares, and any other investments.
- By capital we mean any land, property or businesses that you own.
- By relevant outgoings we mean contributions to student grants and loans and child care charges.
What if the works cost more than my grant, or aren't feasible?
We offer Additional Disabled Facilities Assistance Loans for homeowners if the works cost more than your grant.
If the works aren't feasible, for example they can't be carried out in your property or it would be too costly, we offer Disability Relocation Assistance to help with the cost of moving to a more suitable home.
Is there any help available if I can't afford my means-tested contribution?
The Additional Disabled Facilities Assistance Loan can also be used by people who are unable to afford their Test of Resources contribution.
What is a Nil Grant?
A nil grant is where the Test of Resources result is that you are assessed as being able to afford the full costs of the adaptations, so we won't provide any financial help. It you decide to still go ahead with the works, its still worth considering submitting a grant application because if your needs change in the future and you need more adaptations, we can take into account the cost of any grant-approved works when we do another Test of Resources (within five years for tenants, and within ten years for home-owners).
Do I have to repay the DFG?
You will have to repay a maximum of £10,000 if you are a homeowner and you sell or transfer the property within ten years, or it is no longer your main residence during that time.
To calculate how much you need to repay, we disregard the original value of any lifts or hoists that we are able to remove and recycle for use by someone else. If the grant still exceeds £5,000, we will disregard the first £5,000 and ask you to pay the rest of the grant back - but the most we will ask you to pay is £10,000.
For example, if you had a grant for £7,500 you would repay £2,500. If you had a grant for £18,000 you would repay £10,000.
How do I apply for a DFG?
There are two ways you can apply for a DFG:
- You can contact the Occupational Therapy team on 0300 123 5010 option 3 to request an assessment, who, if they think an adaptation is needed, will refer you to the Housing Standards & Adaptations team for a DFG. A means test (or Test of Resources) is carried out at an early stage to give you an indication whether you qualify financially for a grant, and you can use our Care and Repair service to help you to organise drawings and quotes, apply for the grant and oversee the work once the grant is approved.
- You can apply directly to the Housing Standards & Adaptations team. However, we do recommend that you seek the views of an occupational therapist before you start your application, to ensure that the adaptation you are applying for is considered to be 'necessary and appropriate'. Your application must include details of the premises to be adapted, the work to be carried out (including planning permission and building regulations approval if necessary), at least two itemised estimates from contractors, proof of ownership and/or consent of all owners, and details of any fees to be included in the grant. We will then carry out the Test of Resources. We can provide you with a standard application form.
- Staff delivering the Care and Repair service can give you information about the Test of Resources, and give you support with carrying out repairs and adaptations.
- Referral and Advice Team - for an Occupational Therapist assessment - tel 0300 123 5010 option 3.