One of the biggest challenges many disabled people face is finding accommodation that is suitably adapted for their needs. Living in a house or flat which is inconvenient, uncomfortable, or unsafe can lead to a lower quality of life, and represent a threat to the wellbeing and health of a disabled person.
If you currently find yourself in this situation, the first step is to contact your local council, who will arrange for an occupational therapist (OT) to make an assessment. The OT will submit a report, and any areas that need adapting will be highlighted, and presented as evidence to the local housing department.
Depending on your financial circumstances, the council may then be obliged to move you to more suitable accommodation, or provide funding for your current home to be adapted, through the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). This is designed for adaptations that cost over £1,000, and have not already been started.
If the adaptations cost under £1,000, you may be eligible for a non-means tested grant from your council. Alternatively, some charities offer funding for this type of work as well. DFG are means tested, so if you have income or savings over a certain amount, you will be asked to meet the costs yourself.
If you are eligible for the DFG, it will meet costs of up to £30,000 in England, and £36,000 in Wales. The work is exempt from VAT, so make sure that the builders do not charge you for it.
The funding could be used to install accessible bathrooms, such as a wet room or a walk-in shower, or build a downstairs toilet. It could also be used to install ramps, or widen doorways and corridors for wheelchair access. A further option may be to install adjustable kitchen worktops, and other features to allow a wheelchair user to safely prepare meals.
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