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How To Get A Stairlift Grant UK (free disability funding)

Deciding to get a stairlift installed can certainly make life easier. But if you’re disabled or elderly, buying a stairlift might be a struggle. Here at Leodis, all our stairlifts are very affordable with excellent warranty periods.

You might be wondering, can I get funding for a stairlift?

If you’re finding it difficult to afford one, help is often available from your Local Authority, in the form of a Disabled Facilities Grant, or DFG for short.

These grants can be used to help buy a stairlift and any other adaptions needed for your home.

In this handy guide we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions which we hope will help you if you’re considering applying for a grant.

Read on to find out more about your eligibility for a stair lift… 

To request your FREE home survey, please call us on 0800 542 6045

What exactly is a Disabled Facilities Grant?  

It’s a Government-funded grant offered by Local Councils and Authorities. 

The DFG is awarded to people with a disability or those suffering from reduced mobility who need to have the necessary adaptions made to their homes to improve their quality of life.

The grant can cover a wide range of property alterations, such as the installation of a stairlift, ramps, changes to your heating system or new lighting to name a few.

Stair lift grants can cover all or most of the cost of having a stairlift fitted.

Am I eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant?

As the name suggests, the grant is only available to households with someone living with a disability. 

This rule applies even if the individual is a tenant in a property that you own.

As you might imagine, the grant comes with some important conditions:

  1. Your Council or Local Authority will need to agree that the alterations you are proposing are indeed necessary based on your medical needs. They’ll need to confirm that the work can actually be carried out.

  2. You are only eligible if you or your tenant plan to stay at the property for at least five years. The grant is typically for £5,000. For grants over this amount, the period is usually extended to ten years. If you move before either of these timescales, you may be required to pay it back.

You must apply for the grant before any work starts. You won’t be eligible if work has already begun. You may need to apply for planning permission to get the work done first.                                 

Applying for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)

You’ll need to fill out an application form and provide details of what alterations you need or intend to make. You’ll also need the estimated cost of the work from two different stairlift suppliers or building contractors.

Any legitimate company will usually be happy to carry out a free survey to establish the right type of stairlift for you and your home as well as providing you with a written estimate.

If you need help finding a suitable stairlift company, contact your local council. They’ll be able to provide you with details on several reliable local firms.

Stairlift survey to asses your needs

A survey will need to be carried out to find the best stairlift for you and your home.

Your application will also need details of your personal finances. You’ll need to provide your household income, regular monthly expenditure, and any savings you might have as well as copies of bank statements to prove your financial situation.

If you have savings over £6,000, your application might be turned down. However, if the stairlift is for a disabled person under the age of 19, it usually isn’t means-tested.

If you’re unsure of what you need, you can always contact your local Social Care department to get some advice from your local Occupational Therapist. 

They can visit your home and assess what you need help with, and whether a stairlift is the best option for you.

It’s important that you complete and send your application to them before any work begins. If not, you’ll almost certainly have your application rejected.

If you need any help completing the form, call your Social Care department again, speak to your local council or ask to be put through to your local Home Improvement Agency.

What happens next?

Once your application has been received, your Local Authority will consider all of the information you’ve submitted. 

They’ll then usually arrange for an environmental health officer or building surveyor to visit your home and check whether all of your planned changes are feasible.

Once they have all of this, they can decide if you should indeed get a grant for your stairlift and if so, how much of the cost they are prepared to cover.

As any grant is using public money, your Local Authority will consider a number of important factors when reviewing whether stairlift grants are awarded. These are primarily: –

  • Is the work absolutely necessary for your health and wellbeing? These grants are meant to pay for only essential works required to support disabled people or those with mobility issues in their everyday lives. The opinion of the Occupational Therapist can be vital in whether you need this work carrying out

  • Are the adaptions you are proposing the most appropriate for your needs? The works you are describing should clearly prove they are the best option for you and again this is where the report from your Occupational Therapist will come in. If your Local Authority believes there are alternative options that would suit you better, they may require you to apply for funding for these only
               
  • Is the required work suitable for your home and feasible given its age and condition? Again, this is where any surveys carried out by your stairlift provider or the building contractor will support your application process

  • Do you really need the financial support you are requesting? This is where all the financial information you have provided will be scrutinised to ensure that you are a deserving case. Again, if you have savings of £6,000 or more, it’s likely your application will be turned down or you may be offered a much smaller grant covering only a portion of the cost of your stairlift.

How long does it take to be approved?

Sadly it’s not a quick process. 

It can take up to six months for your Local Authority to review everything, arrange for surveys to be carried out, and for any supporting evidence from professionals (such as Occupational Therapists) to be received and reviewed. This should set out how and when the grant for your stairlift will be paid.

Two other factors that usually have an impact on their decision is the length of any waiting list and how busy they are in general. However, your Local Authority should be able to advise how long it will take them to make a decision.

If your situation is urgent due to a sudden illness or deteriorating condition, you can ask the relevant council department to prioritise your application. Given your circumstances this may help speed things along or they may advise you to get funding elsewhere. 

There are a few national charities that might be able to help in such cases. Again, if you need help with this, your Local Authority should be able to give you contacts for these.

How much is the Disabled Facilities Grant normally?

As with most things in life, the amount of the grant you may receive is dependent on the scope and cost of the work involved.  It can also depend on which region of the UK you live in as each country sets maximum limits on the grants available. 

Grants in England are typically up to £25,000 to cover not only the cost of the Stairlift, but also any building adaptions, that some people with disabilities may need.

Your Local Authority will need you to supply two estimates from different suppliers detailing the work to be carried out and which model of stairlift they recommend for you. Normally if it’s just the cost of a stairlift you are seeking funding for, this should be relatively simple and usually quicker for them to make a decision.

However, your own financial situation will be taken into account, including whether you are on a low income or receiving any benefits. 

They will need to know about any savings you have, and whether any other housing grants are available to help you with the costs. You still may get a grant, but it might not be for the full amount you are seeking.

How is the grant paid?

The payment process will be explained in their written decision on your application. If approved it is usually paid in full, on completion of the work. 

On larger projects you might receive stage payments which can be made out to you or your chosen contractor.

Can I appeal or complain if my application is unsuccessful?

Yes, you can appeal against your Local Authority’s decision but usually only if it was incorrect. 

If you wish to make a complaint about the process, they have an obligation to explain how to do this. 

If you’re still not happy you can always appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman if you feel that you have not been treated fairly by your Local Authority.

Where can I find out more information on Disabled Facilities Grants?

Here are details for a few organisations where you can get advice and support with your grant application…

  • Your Local Authority or Council – as the grant is administered by them this should be your first point of contact. They will send you an application and can advise on how to complete it. You can find their contact details on the Government website www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council
  • Your local Home Improvement Agency – this is a non-profit organisation that can help you with the application process. You can find your local agency on the Foundations in England website https://www.foundations.uk.com/

  • Other organisations such as charities, who can provide you with advice and assistance with the grant applicant process, such as Age UK www.ageuk.org.uk or military personnel charities such as SSAFA www.ssafa.org.uk

  • The ACT Foundation www.theactfoundation.co.uk can provide small top up grants of up to £2,500 to meet any shortfall if your grant has been approved but not for the full amount. You should receive a decision within 3 months but 95% are within 2
  • Finally, Independence at Home www.independenceathome.org.uk a charity that offers funding of up to £2,000 towards the cost of equipment and home adaptations such as Stairlifts. To be considered you will need to be referred by an Occupational Therapist, specialist nurse, Physiotherapist or other health or social care professional

To request your FREE home survey, please call us on 0800 542 6045

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