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December 12 General Election

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Disabled Facilities Grants

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Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)

What is a Disabled Facilities Grant?

Copeland Borough Council has the legal duty to provide mandatory disabled facilities grants for eligible works to meet the care and mobility needs of people with disabilities in the Borough to enable them to live independently, safely and with privacy and dignity.

Although discretionary grants are possible within the legislation we do not have the financial resources to provide these unless in exceptional circumstances.

How do you assess my needs?

Cumbria County Council has the duty to assess the needs of disabled people for assistance at home and provide practical assistance.  This is not limited to assistance for Disabled Facilities grants.  Occupational Therapists (OT’s), employed by Cumbria County Council, are engaged to assess properties and provide recommendations on adaptations to suit the needs of the disabled person.  Provided the work is reasonable, practicable, considered appropriate and the applicant passes the test of financial resources the council will consider approval of a Disabled Facilities grant (DFG)

Who can get a grant?

Disabled Facilities Grants are available to homeowners, owners of qualifying houseboats, owners of qualifying park homes, tenants of private landlords and tenants of housing associations.  Grants are also available for adaptations to the common parts of buildings containing one or more flats.

Grants can also be provided in respect of disabled children within a household and are not means tested.

The council has a duty to all within the borough, but works closely with housing associations in the area to make sure that they can assist their tenants to remain in their own homes and that they have policies and funds to complement the work of the council in regard to adaptations or relocation.

What can a DFG cover?

In accordance with the Regulations and the council’s policy it has been determined that the following works can attract mandatory DFG funding (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Work to aid entry and exit from a building e.g. installation of ramps

  • Work to aid access into and around living areas e.g. installation of stair lifts

  • Provision of accessible kitchen and bathroom facilities

  • Improvement of access into and around the home

  • Access to suitable sleeping facilities

  • Facilitating access by the disabled occupant:

    • To and from the dwelling;

    • To a room used or usable as the principal family room;

    • To a room used for or usable for sleeping;

    • To a room where there is a lavatory;

    • To a room in which there is a bath or shower; and

    • To a room with a wash hand basin.

How are DFG’s funded?

The Council is given a sum of money each year by the Government which can be specifically used for providing grants to help people with disabilities adapt their homes, or to move to a home that with or without adaptation may be more suitable. 

The council will aim to ensure that the overall budget for DFG work will be distributed based on need in the borough and will annually review expenditure and work with County and other districts to ensure that it meets needs.

What level of grant can I get?

The council has a statutory obligation to undertake eligible works up to a value of £30,000 (this includes architects fees and any other professional charges), subject to a test of financial resources, and households may be required to make a contribution to the work. We will inform you of any contribution required before work starts so you can decide whether to continue with the adaptation.

Where the adaptation is for a child there is no test of financial resources.

Will I have to repay my grant if I sell the property?

Grant Conditions

There are certain grant conditions that run for a period of time following the completion of the grant (the grant condition period). 

If you own the property that has been adapted and you received a grant in excess of five thousand pounds we will place a land charge against the property. If you decide to sell within 10 years of the date works were completed we may recover some of the grant we paid. Further details of this can be found in our DFG Policy or you can contact us for more information.

What information/evidence do you need?

In order that the council can make decisions about eligibility, the help it can give and, if the client is eligible for a grant, about the works which are most appropriate, we need to gather and consider a range of information.  In addition to the OT’s recommendations (their referral) we shall also need to take account of the following;

  • The client’s financial circumstances – we will need evidence of these

  • The cost of works

  • The time it is likely to take to deliver the adaptations proposed

  • The suitability of the client’s home for adaptation (including the extent of any under occupation or over occupation)

  • The practicalities of adapting the client’s home (taking into account both the site it sits on and its wider location)

  • The likely need for future adaptations  

  • The availability of and eligibility for suitable alternative accommodation, applicants would not be forced to move home but decisions may have to be made by Adult Social Care and Council officers, for example a single person in a four bedroom housing association house may be asked to move rather than adapt the property.  Applications will be assessed on a case by case basis.

  • The extent to which the adaptation(s) make appropriate use of the funding available to the council

Eligibility for a DFG is set by legislation.  The availability of a grant is dependent on all four of the following criteria being met:

  1. The works being necessary and appropriate

  2. The works being reasonable and practicable

  3. The applicants mean tested contribution being less than the approved value of the grant.

  4. The applicant must be classed as ‘chronically sick and disabled’ this is assessed by an occupational therapist.

Clients who are ineligible for a grant will be given advice and assistance.

How do I apply?

Applications should be made through an occupational therapist. Please contact Adult Social Care on 0300 303 3589 pressing option 2 for Copeland or see its website: cumbria.gov.uk/adultsocialcare