If you or a person living with you is disabled, you may qualify for a Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to adapt your property to enable the disabled person to live as independently as possible.
Who can apply for a DFG?
Owner-occupiers, landlords and a wide range of tenants (including Council tenants) and licensees can apply for a DFG. You can apply if you are the disabled person, the landlord of a disabled person, or someone living with a disabled person. Adaptations for Wealden District Council tenants are also administered through this process.
Who will qualify?
The DFG must be for a person who is registered, or could be registered, as a disabled person. The disability can be caused by physical illness or injury, a major sight, hearing, speech, or mental-health problem, or a learning disability. The Council work closely with East Sussex Social Services and the disabled person will need to undergo an assessment by one of their Occupational Therapists, who will advise us what works are considered necessary and appropriate for their needs.
To arrange for an assessment to be carried out, you will need to contact Social Care Direct on 0345 6080191. Should the Occupational Therapist decide that adaptations are required, they will then forward recommendations to the Council.
What works can be carried out:
Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant are available for:
- Making it easier to get in to and out of your home;
- Making it easier to get to your bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen;
- Making it easier to use the toilet, bath and shower;
- Making it easier to prepare and cook food;
- Improving or installing a suitable heating system to meet the needs of the disabled person,
- Helping you control lighting, power and heating;
- Making it easier to get around your home to help you care for another person;
- Making your home safe for you and other people who live in it; and
- Making it easier to get in and out of your garden
Does the Council have to give a grant? If recommendations are made by the Occupational Therapist, the Council will then determine whether the works are reasonable and practical. We can refuse a grant if we consider the scheme to be unreasonable or impractical.
Are there conditions attached to the DFG?
If the grant exceeds £5,000. the grant is registered as a local land charge against the property. The charge will last a maximum of 10 years, and is limited to a maximum repayment of £10,000. If the works involve the installation of specialist equipment a condition will be attached to the grant to recover specialist equipment when it is no longer needed e.g. stairlift, steplift.
How will the grant be calculated?
To ensure that the grant goes to the most needy households, the level of grant is decided by a means test which looks at the income and capital/savings of the disabled person and their spouse or partner. You may have to make a contribution towards the cost of any grant eligible works.
If the grant is for a child under the age of 19, and you receive child benefit for that child, there is no means test assessment for the mandatory DFG.
If you are in receipt of one of the following income-related benefits, you would normally be eligible for a 100% grant
- Income Support
- Income based employment support allowance
- Housing benefit
- Guaranteed pension credit
- Income-based job-seekers allowance
- Working tax credit with an annual income of less than £15,050
- Child tax credit with an annual income of less than £15,050
- Universal Credit
How much is the level of the grant?
The maximum mandatory limit for the grant is £30,000. If the cost of the works is less than £30,000. and you have been assessed at having a contribution, the amount of grant will be the cost of the works less your assessed contribution. If the cost of the works exceed £30,000. the amount of grant will be the maximum grant limit less your assessed contribution. Please note: The Council can only proceed with an application for a DFG should a recommendation be made by the Occupational Therapist and if you start work before the Council approve the application, no grant can be paid in retrospect.
I need some help with all of this?
Applicants may wish to use the services of an agent or an Architect, Architectural Technician or surveyor to carry out the following:
- Ensure that all necessary documents and consents are acquired
- Obtaining quotes or tenders
- Provide a detailed specification of work with schedule and drawings
- Making the grant application
- Provide site visits and monitor the contract progress
- Arranging payment for the work
Reasonable fees can normally be reclaimed as part of the grant, however, as fees usually have to be paid ‘up front’, the applicant will be responsible for them until the grant is approved. Advice or concerns about fees should be discussed with the assisting Council officer. Applicants should ensure their agents, architects and contractors are members of an appropriate professional body, for example:
- Royal Institute of British Architects (external link)
- Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (external link)
- Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (external link)
- Guild of Master Craftsmen (external link)
- Approved or members of recognised trade lists i.e. Support With Confidence (external link)
Applicants are advised to have a clear agreement on what they have commissioned to be done and should consult with their assisting Council Officer prior to appointing an Architect/Surveyor and agreeing fees in order to check what level of fees might be grant aided.
No work should start on an adaptation until the funding has been fully approved as funding cannot be awarded in retrospect.
Children’s Home Adaptations Service
Information on adaptations for children can be found through the East Sussex Children’s Integrated Therapy Service.
For further information contact us using the details below, or contact:
Social Care Direct:
Telephone – 0345 60 80 191
Sensory Impairment Team:
South Wealden Telephone – 01323 747333
North Wealden Telephone – 01273 482770
To find out more about the adaptation process please read The communities and Local Government website (external link).