Coronavirus: information and updates

Disability grants for home adaptations

All local authorities have Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) schemes. These are for adaptations that cost over £1,000. Adults and children can be eligible for a DFG, but they are means-tested for adults.

You cannot get a DFG for work that has already started.

Most local authorities also have a budget to pay for small changes to your home that cost under £1,000. These are not means-tested (based on your savings or income).

Housing associations manage adaptations in different ways. Ask your housing association what their policy is.

Some local charities can pay for some adaptations if you cannot get support from your local authority.

Apply to your local authority (GOV.UK)

They will send someone to assess you and see what adjustments you might need. They will usually be an occupational therapist (OT).

Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)

A DFG is means-tested. All local authorities run a DFG scheme. Often, they will use them for adaptations that cost more than £1,000.

Depending on your income and savings, the grant could cover the cost of adapting your home:

  • up to £30,000 in England
  • up to £36,000 in Wales

Sometimes local authorities will pay more to meet your needs if it saves them money in the long run.

Warning Ask if your builders are charging VAT (Value Added Tax)

You do not need to pay VAT for some adaptations that make your home more accessible to you. This would make them cheaper. For example:

  • wider ramps, doorways or corridors
  • accessible showers, bathrooms or toilets

VAT relief on certain building work (GOV.UK)

Make sure that builders do not charge VAT for these adaptations.

Local authorities and small adaptations

Most local authorities will pay for adaptations under £1,000, if they decide you need it and are eligible.

These adaptations are usually not means-tested. Local authorities' waiting lists vary. 

Warning Ask about small grants

If you need a small adaptation, ask the local authority if they can fund this for you. Sometimes local authorities will pay for smaller adaptations if you ask. These could include things like grab rails that make it easier for you to get in and out of the bath.

Ask about small grants even if:

  • you cannot find information about small grants on your local authority’s website
  • your local authority tells you how to pay for small adaptations yourself

For example, a wet room or extra bedroom could be cheaper than moving someone into residential care.

Warning Do not start the building work before you apply

You cannot get a DFG for work that has already started.

Building work done by relatives

Your local authority may allow this but the grant will only pay for building materials. Keep copies of the receipts.

Means-testing and ‘household income'

This will look at your household income and savings over £6,000. Savings includes ISAs and Premium Bonds.

Savings rules for under 60s, what counts as savings? (EntitledTo)

If you are receiving another means-tested benefit, the grant will probably cover the whole cost. If you are not, your local authority may ask you to pay for some or all the cost.

Local authorities calculate ‘household income’ in different ways. They should not include disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Local authorities have different rules about what they count as a disability cost. For example, you might spend £1,000 on:

  • paying for social care
  • the extra cost of heating your home, because of your condition

If your local authority agrees these are extra costs, they would not count this £1,000. If your household income was £16,000, it would be £15,000 for means-testing.

Payments

For major work, it’s advisable to involve a qualified architect or surveyor. You can include their fees in the cost of the work.

  • You will need at least 2 estimates.
  • You must submit your grant application and related documents.
  • The local authority must give a decision within 6 months. They must also tell you if you need to pay anything.

Housing association grants

Check the policies and procedures for your housing association as these vary.

Your association may act like a private landlord. They may ask you to apply to the local authority for a DFG on your own or with their support.

Some associations have their own funds for larger adaptations. This would mean that you would not apply to your local authority for a DFG.

The right to buy or acquire your home

National Health Service (NHS)

Usually you get NHS adaptations and equipment only if you need something urgently.

An occupational therapist (OT) might make sure your house is safe and accessible so you can either:

  • be discharged from hospital
  • avoid going to hospital

Local Care and Repair groups or Home Improvement Agencies (HIA) grants

These support disabled and older people to stay in safe housing that meets their needs. They can help you find local schemes and grants to help with the cost of adaptations.

They may also help with:

  • applying for DFG and other grants
  • planning the work
  • finding trusted tradespeople
  • getting quotes

Find your local Home Improvement Agency (findmyhia.org.uk)

Care and Repair England

Care and Repair Cymru

Last reviewed by Scope on: 21/12/2020

Was this page helpful?

We're sorry to hear that.

Tell us how we can improve it

Need more help with housing?

Opens in a new windowOpens an external siteOpens an external site in a new window