How To Get A Stairlift Grant (free disability funding) UK
Deciding to buy a Stairlift can certainly make your life easier, but if you’re disabled or becoming older, there are some who may struggle to pay for it, albeit here at Leodis, all our Stairlifts are very affordable with excellent warranty periods.
However, if you are finding it a struggle to afford one, help is often available from your Local Authority, in the form of The Disabled Facilities Grant, or DFG for short.
These can be used as a grant to purchase your Stairlift as well as any adaptions to your home that are required.
In this informative guide we have put together detailed answers to some of the most frequently asked questions which we hope will be of help to you in applying for a grant, should you need to.
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 administered by Local Councils / Authorities awarded to disabled individuals or those suffering from reduced mobility who need to have necessary adaptions made to their homes to improve the quality of their everyday lives.
The grant can cover a wide range of property alterations, such as the installation of a Stairlift, the building of ramps, changes to your heating system or new lighting.
Stairlift Grants can cover all or most of the cost of having a Stairlift fitted either inside or outside your home.
Am I eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant?
As the name suggests, this grant is only available to households with someone living with a disability there, even if this person is a tenant in a property that you own and is renting it from you.
As you might imagine, the grant comes with some important conditions:
- Your Council or Local Authority will need to agree that the alterations you are proposing to make are indeed necessary based on your medical needs and the works can actually be carried out.
- You are only eligible if you or your tenant plan to stay at the property for a minimum five years and can be typically £5,000. For grants over this amount, the period is usually extended to ten years and if you move before either of these timescales, you may be required to pay it back.
- You must apply for the grant before any works start and almost certainly you won’t be eligible if works have already started. Added to this, you may need to apply for planning permission to get the works done, before you can get the work done.
Applying for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)?
You will need to provide details of what adaptions you need or intend to make and the estimated cost of the work from two different Stairlift suppliers or building contractors.
Any legitimate company will normally be happy to carry out a FREE survey to establish which is the right type of Stairlift for you and your home as well as providing a written estimate.
If you need help finding a suitable company, your local council should be able to provide you with details on several reliable local firms.
Your application will also need details of your personal finances, such as your income, regular monthly expenditure, any savings you might have as well as copies of bank statements to prove your financial situation.
If you have savings over £6,000, this may result in your application being 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 a local Occupational Therapist who can visit your home and assess what you most need help with, and whether a Stairlift is the best option for you.
It is important that you complete and send your application to them before any work is started as if not, you’ll almost certainly have your application rejected.
If you need any help completing the form, call your Social Care department again or speak to your local council again 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 have submitted and then usually arrange for an environmental health officer or building surveyor to visit your home to check whether all of your planned changes are feasible.
Once they have all of this, they can decide on whether 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 be taken into account. If you Local Authority believe there are alternative options that could 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 above, it is most likely your application will be turned down or you may be offered a much smaller grant covering only a proportion of the cost of your Stairlift installation.
How long does it take to be approved?
Sadly this is not a quick process and it can take up to six months for your Local Authority to review all the documentation you have submitted, to arrange for surveys to be carried out, and for any supporting evidence from professionals such as Occupational Therapists to be received and analysed and then send you their written response. 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 process is the length of any waiting list and how busy they are generally and in these times of the Coronavirus pandemic, the usual timescales have been massively affected. However, your Local Authority should be able to advise how long it will take them to give you a decision
If, however, 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 individual circumstances, which may help or they may advise you to obtain funding elsewhere. There are a number of national charities that may be able to help as well, 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 undertaking.
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 is right 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, the level of any savings you have, and whether any other housing grants might be available to help 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 works involved. On larger project you may receive stage payments which can be made out to you or your chosen contractor (s)
Can I appeal or complain if my application is unsuccessful?
Yes, you can appeal again 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 to you how you do this and if you are still not happy you can always appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman if you feel that you have not treated fairly by your Local Authority
Where can I find out more information on Disabled Facilities Grants?
We have set out below a number of additional organisations where you can get advice or 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 www.foundations.uk.com/dfg-adaptations
- 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