We frequently assist with the purchase and adaption of properties for disabled clients. This usually occurs after the settlement of a litigation claim for damages, where the injured party, often with support from their Deputy, will consider buying a suitable property for P to meet their long terms needs. Before commencing the search for a suitable property, the Deputy might consider any accommodation expert’s report prepared in the claim, the wider costs of the purchase, budgeting and affordability and the practicalities of a move.
Many of our clients have suffered long term cognitive and mobility impairments. As such, another crucial point to consider is whether the chosen property can be adapted to meet P’s needs and if so, what the costs of the adaptations works will be. As part of that process, we have a duty to consider whether a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) will be available to fund part of the proposed works.
A DFG is a grant that you can receive from the Local Authority if you are disabled and need to make changes to your home to meet your needs. There is an eligibility test for funding, which includes means testing in most, but not all circumstances. DFG funding cannot be obtained retrospectively therefore it is important that the application is submitted to the relevant local authority before any building works commence.
The Local Authority will consider project drawings and costed quotes from contractors when considering the merits of the application. A DFG grant can cover various works, including assistance with resolving access problems such as widening doors, installing ramps and stair lifts. What the grant covers depends on the individual needs of the home owner and an architect and specialist housing OT should be able to highlight what the Local Authority funding officer should be considering. The maximum amount you can receive from a DFG is £30,000.00 in England. This may be paid in a lump sum or in instalments following an inspection of the works by the relevant DFG funding officer. Receiving the grant will not impact on means testing for state benefits.