The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is a means-tested grant for any type of permanent disability-including physical and learning disabilities, sensory disorders, and mental illness. DFG will enable you to make changes to your house to help you continue to live there.
It can be used to fund the following work:
Read more about how home improvement can help people live independently.
DFG is a means survey grant for people 18 years of age or older, so the amount you can get depends on your family income and savings.
The means survey will look at your income and savings and the income and savings of your spouse or partner (if you have one). The first £6,000 of household savings is exempt from the means test.
Each local authority has its own economic survey policy and therefore cannot provide information about the exact limits of income and savings. Contact your local authorities to learn more about their financial investigation of DFG.
The amount you can get also depends on the cost of the work that needs to be done. Some people may pay the total cost of adaptation; others may have to bear the cost.
In order to obtain funding, the City Council must determine whether the work is (a) necessary and appropriate to meet your needs, and (b) reasonable and achievable, taking into account the age and condition of the property.
Know what changes your property needs to make and how much these changes cost. If you have been assessed by the committee (occupational therapy (OT) assessment or comprehensive needs assessment), this will list the recommendations.
If you need an assessment, your city council will visit to assess whether your home is suitable for adaptation and what is needed. There may be a long waiting list, in this case, please ask if you can use private OT. You should be able to include this fee in your grant application, but please consult your city council first.
The board usually needs two written estimates of the cost of the work. They may be able to provide a list of builders or provide advice on hiring a builder.
This can be obtained from your local authority or from the Housing Executive in Northern Ireland. This must include a description of your proposed adjustment and two cost estimates as well as details of any other fees and charges.
You can get help with the application process from a home improvement agency.
You must be the owner or tenant of the property, or intend to become the owner or tenant. There must be a disabled person living in the property. You need to provide documents to prove one of these two situations, and these documents must be submitted with the DFG application.
Written consent: If you rent a property, the landlord must provide written consent to perform the work. If the property is jointly owned, all parties must confirm their consent in writing.
Proof: If you are an applicant, you must fill out a certificate stating that you will live in the property for at least five years after completion of the work, unless you are unable to live due to health problems. This can be difficult if you are a private tenant and you have a reliable short-term lease.
You need to separately apply for any necessary planning permission or building code approval (unless done by a home improvement agency or other organization).
Before construction on the property starts, you need to return the completed application form to the local council for approval. Please note that if you start work before getting approval from the City Council, your application may be rejected. The local authority shall respond in writing within six months from the date of application.
DFG can be paid in installments as the work progresses, or in full after the work is completed.
The city government can pay the contractor directly, or it can give you a check and you can pay the contractor yourself. When the council approves your application, the payment method should be agreed upon. If the work is carried out by family members, the council usually only pays for materials, not labor.
When you sign the grant application, you must sign a certificate stating that you intend to live there for at least five years after the job is completed. However, this only needs to be about the "intent" to stay. If you subsequently want to downsize or move into a nursing home because of changes in circumstances, you should not withdraw the subsidy.
If you receive a grant of more than £5,000 and own your house, some councils will impose local land fees on the property. This means that if you move within 10 years, you may have to repay part of the grant.
If your needs change after completing the work with DFG, as long as the total amount does not exceed the legal limit, you have the right to apply for another grant.
If you believe that you have been unfairly rejected by the DFG, or you are not satisfied with the treatment of the municipal government, please read our article on challenging the decisions of local authorities.
The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) will assess the feasibility of the proposed renovation, taking into account the age and conditions of the proposed residence.
NIHE also carries out housing renovations to meet the needs of tenants and provides funding for housing association properties. Social housing providers can also provide a smaller range of housing renovations, without the need for health and social care assessments.
If you are a NIHE tenant, you can contact your local office for more information. If you are a housing association tenant, you should contact your landlord. Learn more about adaptation and subsidies in Northern Ireland here.
The adjustment arrangement system of the assistance plan is similar to that of the facility subsidy for the disabled. You should apply to the local council, and your needs will usually be assessed by an occupational therapist.
The amount available depends on the local authority. Care and Repair Scotland provides advice and information on the adaptation of people with disabilities in Scotland.
If you are not eligible for DFG but need to make some fundamental changes to your lifestyle, there are other options to consider: