Following consultation between Kent Local Authorities who administer Disabled Facility Grants, it has been agreed that the following works can attract Mandatory DFG funding.
The following categories of adaptation are detailed in the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 as being works which must be considered for grant assistance.
Where costs are likely to exceed £30,000 Local Authorities will need to take extra care to establish if the proposals are “reasonable and practicable.”
The grant limit is £30,000 – there is currently no discretion within Thanet District Council to go above this level and therefore when making recommendations regard must be had as to how the applicant will be able to finance the additional costs.
Facilitating access by the disabled occupant
- to and from the dwelling
- to a room used or usable as the principle family room
- to a room used for or used for sleeping
- to a room in which there is a lavatory
- to a room in which there is a bath or shower
- to a room with a wash hand basin
Such works may include:
- Ramping and/or handrails to the main external door. This could instead be a rear door in the case of a rear access. Only one access point will be allowed for each dwelling. External stairlifts will be considered if reasonably practicable and they are not prone to vandalism. Handrails under £1000 are to be the responsibility of Social Services unless they are in conjunction with a ramp.
- Widening the main entrance door and the doorways to the bedroom, bathroom and living room. Automatic door opening to main entrance doors will only be allowed for persons who are otherwise unable to open the door. Door entry systems will be considered where the person has severe mobility problems.
- Alterations to facilitate wheelchair access to the bedroom, bathroom and living room. Access to other rooms may be considered where the disabled person is a carer.
- Other adaptations that are necessary to facilitate access to any of the relevant rooms by the disabled person, for example, stairlifts or vertical lifts in some cases. Where a stairlift breaks down and it is 5-10 years old, a manufactures report is needed before it can be replaced. If it is over 10 years, a report may not be required. It is considered good practice to include a 5-year extended warranty/service contract with all new lifts.
- Provision of hard standings (3.6 x 4.8 max) and associated crossover for vehicle access where the disabled person is in a wheelchair or has difficulty walking to the house. This will only be given where existing on-street parking is considered unsatisfactory and a marked disabled parking bay is not possible or where it affords a more economic solution than providing additional paths/ramping from the roadside. It is cheaper to put a marked disabled parking bay outside the house compared to providing a hard standing.
- Please note: Being a holder of a blue badge is not the eligibility criteria for this item.
Facilitating the use of washing facilities by the disabled occupant
- Adaptation of the facilities in the bathroom and toilet, including the provision of flush floor showers, lever taps, specialist WCs, Closo-mat or Gerbit etc. The adaptation or provision of more than one bathroom to a house e.g. additional ground floor wc, will only be considered if evidenced by functional need.
- An electric fan heater should be provided to the bathroom/shower room in addition to a radiator as long as it does not contravene IEE regulations for wet areas.
Facilitating the preparation and cooking of food
- Where someone other than the disabled person does and will continue to do the cooking and preparation of meals, normally it will not be necessary to carry out full adaptations. However, it may be possible to carry out minor adaptations to allow the disabled person to prepare light meals or hot drinks, typically this may include a low-level worktop with power points for a kettle/microwave.
- Full adaptations can be considered where the disabled person is the only or main user of the kitchen. The following adaptations can be considered:
- Kitchen sink, including alteration to its height or position or the type of taps fitted to it. Powered, adjustable-height sinks will not generally be allowed, as the provision of a second sink is a more economic solution.
- Cooker point and oven-housing unit ensuring its height and position is in a safe location and the provision of worktops on either side.
- Work surfaces located beside the sink and on each side of the cooker having a total length of approximately 1.5m, all at a suitable height for the disabled person.
- Food storage in an accessible position, usually space for a refrigerator with power supply.
- Wheelchair access, if necessary, including wider doors, rearrangement of facilities etc.
- Alterations to the kitchen door, light switches and power points, but only if it is necessary.
- Extensions or enlargement to kitchens can only be agreed where they are absolutely necessary in order to provide turning space for a wheelchair and if suitable space cannot be achieved by rearrangement of the existing facilities.
- The provision of cupboard and storage units on an “essential” basis. (2x1m base units and baskets or equivalent).
- Mechanical ventilation where kitchen schemes require Building Regulation approval.
Other works that will be considered
- Alterations to the height and/or position of light switches and power points to make them accessible to the disabled person.
- Heating the rooms that are in everyday use by the disabled person where a medical need can be demonstrated. This does not include repair to existing systems. Changes to the type of heating system will only be allowed if evidenced by medical need.
- Possible upgrading/replacing of boilers where the property has been extended as part of the adaptation.
- Provision of laminate glass or specialist lighting or guards to fires and around radiators where disabled children with violent behavioural problems may harm themselves.
- Provision of enhanced fire alarm systems for those with hearing difficulties.
- Carrying out structural alterations where necessary to provide fixings for disabled equipment provided by Social Services e.g. fixing for tracking /overhead hoists.
- Where an adaptation is required to a listed building and additional works are required to comply with requirements.
- Where an adaptation cannot be carried out due to disrepair issues those repairs, within reason, may be carried out. Such works as replacement of rotted flooring or strengthening of the floor as part of a flush floor shower installation, electrical repairs to enable works to be carried out safely, and dealing with low water pressure. Replacing defective drainage and a full rewire would not normally be eligible.
- Additional bathrooms or bedrooms may be allowed where they are specifically for the disabled person and it can be demonstrated that adaptation of other rooms or space or access to those rooms in the property is unsuitable. Extensions will only be allowed following a detailed cost/benefit analysis of alternative options.
- In cases of small terraced properties with narrow passageways or very difficult access, effective adaptation can only proceed where it can be reasonably and practicably carried out without having a detrimental impact on neighbouring properties.
- Requests are sometimes received to provide separate bedrooms where disabled children with behavioural difficulties share a room with other siblings and disturb their sleep. This will only be considered under mandatory grant where it can be demonstrated the child is prone to violent outbursts and there is risk of physical harm to the child or to the other siblings.
Access to the garden
- This has only recently been introduced and will only be considered if recommended by an Occupational Therapist.
- In deciding the extent of providing access to the rear garden, the following will be taken into account.
- Grant assistance will not be given where there is already access to the garden but grant may be given to improve an existing access to make it safe for the disabled occupant to use. It does not include extending an existing access e.g. creating a side access so a person can also go around the side of a house. Generally, the most modest solution for providing access to both the house and the garden will be considered and this can mean that one access may be sufficient to access both the house and the garden. Where homes have communal gardens, e.g., blocks of flats served by a single access, grants will not normally be provided for an individual access to the garden unless it can be demonstrated that because of the disabled persons condition the travel distance to the garden would be excessive and unreasonable.
- The grant will simply be for providing immediate access to the garden and does not include landscaping gardens to make them more suitable for the disabled person to access. However, to assist a disabled person to live independently, an allowance of 4 m² of pathway, (which may include a turning circle for a wheelchair user), will be considered to assist access to any specific areas enjoyed by the disabled person.
- See also the list of non-mandatory items in the next section relating to gardens etc.
General guidance of works considered non-mandatory
These works may only be available if discretionary funding is available. There is no discretionary funding at Thanet District Council and therefore only mandatory items will be funded.
- Generally, more extensive adaptations to the kitchen than those described previously.
- The provision of cupboards, storage units, breakfast bars, generally above and beyond the standard that applies for mandatory grants.
- Cookers and hobs, refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and waste disposal units.
- Replacement of rooms or parts of rooms which have been “lost” by carrying out adaptations (by way of explanation, where a ground floor living room or dining room is converted into a bedroom with en suite shower room for a disabled person, the construction of a “replacement” living room or dining room for use by the rest of the family could not be grant aided on a mandatory basis.)
- Fitments in rooms, for example built-in cupboards, wardrobes, storage units etc.
- Extensions to living rooms.
- Provision of secondary access from dwelling house, formation of patios, garden paths etc. walkways from garages and sheds. 2nd access – would need very exceptional circumstances to allow this.
- Storage areas and charging points for wheelchair/ scooters.
- Service contracts for lifts and other equipment.
- Provision of treatment rooms
- Provision of pager systems linked to doorbells or telephones for the profoundly deaf.
- Floor coverings (except thermo-plastic tiles or similar permanent floor finish to bathroom area).
- Wall tiling (except splash backs and immediate shower areas).
- Provision of disabled aids and equipment that can be fitted with no or little structural alterations. These are likely to be able to be removed fairly easily and re-used if the disabled person should decide to move in the future.
- Non-fixed aids, e.g. bath hoists can be funded by KCC as equipment but some authorities allow it as discretionary.
- Sliding doors/two way doors – not needed – can turn door round or flexicare 2 way hinges in special cases if likely to fall.
- Hard standings (as a Planning Condition) (4th bedroom).
- Air conditioning.
- Creating a safe play area and/or fences.
- Storage areas for example scooters, wheelchairs, children’s equipment.
- Portable/non-fixed items.
- Drop kerbs, hard standings and ramps for non- wheelchair users/non-drivers.
- Minor adaptations up to the value of £1,000 which are obtainable from Social Services, Occupational Therapy Bureau
- Formation of Patios
- Creating a safe play area on/or secure boundary fencing (this is already in the list)
- Walkways to and from garages or scooter storage areas
- Formation of bin store areas
- Provision of clothes drying facilities
- General provision of external lighting
Reviewed March 2016 Permalink