Disabled Facilities Grants
If you or someone in your home are Disabled you may qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant from the Council to pay towards essential adaptations.
What is a Disabled Facilities Grant?
A Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is a form of financial assistance, of up to £30,000 available from Local Authorities. It is a means-tested grant that enables homeowners or tenants (Private and Housing Association) to have adaptations to their homes, to give better freedom of movement and to give access to essential facilities within the home.
Applying for a grant and who is eligible
You can apply for the grant if you or someone in your property is disabled or if you are the landlord of a disabled tenant. To apply you must be either be the owner of the property or a tenant, and intend to stay at the property for at least five years as your main or only home.
All grants must be supported by an Occupational Therapist assessment, you will need to speak to you GP and get a referral to an Occupational Therapist before a grant can be considered. The Occupational Therapist will assess your current housing situation and medical needs and they will send recommendations to Hastings Borough Council for the adaptations required. You can find out more information about adaptations for adults. For children you can find out more through East Sussex School Health and Children's Integrated Therapy Service or the East Sussex Children's Integrated Therapy and Equipment Service.
What is the grant for?
The grant is used to make changes to your home to support independent living.
Types of adaptations that can be provided include:
- Level Access Showers
- Stair Lifts
- Kitchen Adaptations
- External Access Ramps
- Through Floor Lifts
- Door Widening
- Electronic Door Entry Systems
Not all homes can be adapted and not all works can be covered by a Disabled Facilities Grant. Where a grant cannot be provided Hastings Borough Council will work with you to try and find an alternative solution or direct you to other agencies that may be able to provide assistance.
Are there any costs?
Disabled Facilities Grants are means tested so the amount that you may have to contribute towards the cost of works depends on your income, savings and assets and any benefits that you receive. This may mean you have to pay nothing at all or you may have to pay for the full cost of the works.
Children's grants are not means tested so no contribution is made towards the cost of works. If the applicant is in receipt of one of the following income related benefits they will not be required to make a contribution towards the grant
- Housing Benefit
- Income Related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
- Guaranteed Pension Credit
- Working Tax Credit (with income below £15,050)
- Child Tax Credit (with income below £15,050)
- Universal Credit
What if I have to make a contribution?
If you are required to make a contribution and can afford to pay it, this will need to be paid before the works can commence. Any remaining cost of works will be paid to the Builders directly by Hastings Borough Council.
If you are required to make a contribution and cannot afford to pay it you may be able to get some assistance dependent on your circumstances;
- If you or your partner has been in the Armed Forces you may be able to get some help from SSAFA or call: 0800 7314880
- If you are aged 65 or over or are aged 18 or over and have a long term physical health condition STEPS to stay independent may be able to help or call: 0300 1232422
- If you are a home owner you may be able to apply to Hastings Borough Council for a Home Improvement Load via The Parity Trust
- Alternatively you can seek your own funding to cover any contribution
What are the conditions of the grant?
There are certain conditions that apply to a Disabled Facilities Grant:
- If you are a tenant you will have to live in the property for a minimum of 5 years once the works have been completed. If you leave before then you may be asked to pay back the grant
- If you are an owner occupier and the works are above £5,000 Hastings Borough Council will place a local land charge on the property. If the property is sold or disposed of within 10 years we will recover the grant funding that exceeds £5,000 up to a maximum charge of £10,000
- If the total cost of the grant is £4,000 - no charge will be placed on the property
- If the total cost of the grant is £6,500 - a charge of £1,500 will be placed on the property
- If the total cost of the grant is over £15,000 - a charge of £10,00 will be placed on the property
Once Hastings Borough Council has received the referral from your Occupational Therapist the Grants Officer will contact you either by post or telephone to make an appointment to visit you in your home to ensure that the recommended work is 'Reasonable and Practicable'. The Grants Officer will also explain the next stage of the process to you and answer any questions that you may have.
The application process can be complex depending on the recommended works and for that reason whilst you can prepare your own grant application we recommend that you seek support.
Hastings Borough Council uses an Adaptations Support Service which is operated by Town and Country Housing Home Improvement and Support Team. They will act as your agent throughout the process and will visit you to:
- Assist in completing the grant application form
- Prepare and draw up the proposed plans and specifications for the adaptations
- Obtain tenders from builders for the required works
- Seek any required Building Regulations approval, Planning or any other permissions
- Liaise with Structural Engineers or other specialists of required
- Supervise the works, ensuring that they are carried out in accordance with the Occupational Therapists recommendations
- Ensure that the adaptation is completed to a good standard
- Ensuring that the contractor puts right any faults that may occur during the defects liability period
Any and all fees incurred by using Town and Country Housing Home Improvement and Support Team are included in the grant.
All contractors carrying out works will be paid directly by Hastings Borough Council (Please note: If you or a family member complete the works Hastings Borough Council will only accept invoices for the materials or services you have bought, no payment will be made for labour costs)
Once Hastings Borough Council have visited you in your property and all the relevant information and permissions have been obtained we will send the referral to Town and Country Housing Home Improvement and Support Team. If you have chosen not to use Town and Country Housing Home Improvement and Support Team you will need to employ your own surveyor, gather tenders from reputable builders, oversee all works, submit invoices to the Council for payment
If you have chosen to use Town and Country Housing Home Improvement and Support Team they will undertake a more detailed means test if required or you will need to provide proof of any means tested benefits.
If technical input is required (usually for adaptations such as Bathrooms, Kitchens or access) a surveyor will arrange to visit to draw up a scheme for the works. The scheme will be sent to you and the Grants Officer for approval
Contractors from an approved list are randomly selected and asked to provide costs for the works (determined by a pre priced schedule)
Town and Country Housing Home Improvement and Support Team will visit you at your property to complete the final grant application form. This will then be sent to Hastings Borough Council for approval.
Once the grant has been approved the surveyor will contact you confirm a proposed start date for the works. Any contribution that may be due needs to be paid at this stage.
Before works commence you will be required to pack away any items that you wish to keep safe during the works. Affected flooring areas will be covered with protective sheets whilst the works are carried out and most works can take between one to eight weeks to complete depending on the size of the contract. Stair lifts are often fitted in one day.
Once works are complete and the Surveyor is satisfied they will ask you to sign off the works. The Grants officer will contact you when the works are complete to ensure that there are no issues and you are happy with the works, they may wish to do a visit to your property to look at the works.
Who pays for maintaining the adaptations?
The contract for the works is between the grant applicant and the contractor, not Hastings Borough Council.
There is a defect period of 12 months following the date the work is completed and the contractor is responsible for putting right any work that was done under the grant within this period, however any issues caused by misuse or damage will not be covered and will be chargeable. After this period the person who applied for the Grant will be responsible for maintaining, repairing, removing and insuring any adaptations. If you are a Housing Association Tenant they may charge you a fee for the maintenance of some adaptations (Stair lifts, Closomat toilets, ceiling track hoists). Some adaptations will come with a Warranty such as Stair Lifts, Closomat Toilets.