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Helping the disabled keep their homes

Some time ago I wrote about grants, which are an important consideration when advising cli-ents on equity release.

Revisiting the subject, it’s worth noting that one of the more common grants is the Disabled Facilities Grant, although this is not particularly well known among brokers.

The grant is provided by local councils and is potentially available to individuals who are registered as disabled. Its purpose is to help towards the cost of adapting homes to enable their occupants to continue to live in them.

In considering applications, councils need to be satisfied that proposed changes are necessary to meet individuals’ needs. They also have to be satisfied that the proposed work is reasonable and practical.

The grant can be used for essential adaptations to provide enhanced freedom of movement around a property and may also be used to provide a range of essential facilities.

Typical examples of the uses of the grant include:

• Widening doors and installing access ramps.
• Providing or improving access to rooms and facilities, for example by installing a stairlift or providing a downstairs bathroom.
• Improving or providing a heating system which is suitable for an occupant’s needs.
• Adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use.

Occupational therapists assess requirements on a case-by-case basis, while eligibility relates to two criteria. First, individuals applying for the grant or those on whose behalf applications are made should be either owners or tenants of the properties concerned.

Second, it has to be certified that applicants intend to occupy their properties as their only or main residences throughout the grant period, which is five years.

As far as the grants go the amounts available are not inconsiderable, with the maximum being £25,000. But the important point to note is that the grant is means-tested. This test takes into account applicants’ income and savings.

Depending on the outcome of ass-essments, the full amount could be pay-able, part of it or none.

Further details can be found by visiting and searching for grants.

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