If you need to make your home more accessible, or you need specialist equipment to help you manage day-to-day tasks more safely and easily, then you might be entitled to financial help.
- Getting a care needs assessment
- Major or minor adaptations
- Minor adaptations and equipment – what help is available?
- Funding major adaptations – the Disabled Facilities Grant
- Help is at hand from your local Home Improvement Agency
- Grants in Northern Ireland
- Help from charities
- Don’t forget to claim VAT relief
- Council Tax reduction
Getting a care needs assessment
If you need support with daily living because you’re:
- Disabled, or
- You have a long-term health condition
Then you have the right to an assessment by your local authority.
If you haven’t already done so, contact your local social services department to have your needs assessed.
- Apply to your local council’s social services department for a care needs assessment.
- In Northern Ireland, assessments are carried out by your local trust. You can find the trust nearest to you by searching on the nidirect website.
Major or minor adaptations
The financial help that is available depends on whether the adaptations you need to make to your home are minor or major.
- Minor adaptations would include, for example, fitting lever taps in the kitchen, or hand rails around the home.
- Major adaptations could include, for example, installing a downstairs shower room, widening doorways, or lowering the work tops in your kitchen.
Minor adaptations and equipment – what help is available?
If you live in England
Your local authority in England will normally provide you with disability equipment and small adaptations costing less than £1,000 free of charge, as long as you’ve been assessed as needing it and you are eligible.
If you live in Wales
You migh have to pay towards disability equipment and minor adaptations but the amount you’re asked to pay must be reasonable and based on your financial circumstances.
If you live in Scotland
Your local council in Scotland will normally provide you with essential equipment or adaptations costing less than £1,500 free of charge.
If you live in Northern Ireland
Your local trust will decide whether they will fund the equipment or minor adaptation or whether you’ll have to pay for it yourself.
Funding major adaptations – the Disabled Facilities Grant
For more major adaptations to make your home accessible you will normally have to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant.
These are paid by your local authority (or Local Housing Executive if you live in Northern Ireland).
Are you eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant?
You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant if your local authority is satisfied that the work you’re having done is necessary and appropriate for your needs.
This usually involves an assessment by an occupational therapist.
The grants are means-tested (unless you’re applying for a disabled child under the age of 17), so the local authority will take into account any income and savings that you and your partner have.
How much can you get?
The maximum amount you can get for a Disabled Facilities Grant depends on where in the UK you live.
|Maximum Disabled Facilities Grant payable|
|Scotland||The amount you get varies depending on your local council.|
How to claim a Disabled Facilities Grant
Find out how to claim a Disabled Facilities Grants on GOV.UK.
Find out more about Disabled Facilities Grants in Northern Ireland on the nidirect website.
Help is at hand from your local Home Improvement Agency
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to getting funding, planning the work and employing tradespeople, Home Improvement Agencies can ease a lot of the worry.
They can help in a variety of ways including:
- Getting quotes
- Drawing up plans for the work
- Visiting your home and providing advice
- Checking what financial help you might be eligible for
They also publish a list of trusted tradespeople on their website.
For more information, including how to find your local Home Improvement Agency, go to the Foundations website.
Grants in Northern Ireland
If you live in Northern Ireland, there are a number of grants available to improve or adapt your home.
Check out the Housing Executive website for details of the funding available.
Help from charities
If you’re unable to secure funding elsewhere, there are a surprising number of charities who might be able to help.
For example, visit the The ACT Foundation website for help with building work and equipment for disabled people.
Check out the Turn2Us website – a free service that helps people gain access to welfare benefits, grants and other help.
Don’t forget to claim VAT relief
If you’re disabled, any building work you do to adapt your home might be zero-rated for VAT.
Find out more about VAT exemptions on building work on the GOV.UK website.
Council Tax reduction
If the adaptations you are having done to your home push your property into a higher Council Tax band, you might be entitled to a discount on your Council Tax.
This is called the ‘Disabled Band Reduction Scheme’.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.