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News & Features

Disabled Facilities Grant Review

Posted in General News on Thursday, December 20th, 2018

An Independent review commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health and Social Care concluded that the government needs to make considerable changes to the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) so that disabled people have more scope to have the adaptations they require installed in their homes. One of the recommendations stated that the government should increase the upper limit awarded through the grant so that it is in line with the rising costs of this equipment and the cost of installation. Another important suggestion made in the report was for the government to introduce a national accreditation scheme for builders and tradespeople to certify that they are trained to install adaptive equipment . The report states that 90% of the funding supplied through the DFG is currently used to install level showers, stair lifts and ramps. Taking this into consideration, it was recommended that those administering the grant should take “a fresh approach that is all-encompassing and creates a home environment that enables disabled people to live a full life”. In other words, the report is asking for the government to supply the funding for a wider range of adaptations enabling disabled people to carry out a broader variety of everyday tasks independently. In order for this to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible it was also recommended that occupational therapists and housing staff should be brought together in integrated teams in all local authority areas across the country. At the moment this is only happening in certain parts of the UK and this means that the grant money is not being utilised as well as it could be. In the interest of raising awareness of the grant the report suggested that changing its name to one “that is up-to-date and instantly recognisable”.

In October the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced that the government would be investing another £55 million in the DFG for 2018/19 following the previous decision to increase the total amount of money allocated for the grant from the £220 million that was available in 2015, to £505 million by 2019/20. Despite this planned increase in funding the number of housing adaptations, at least up until 2016/17, “has not significantly increased” because the financial help offered by local authorities has lowered and the cost of the equipment and its installation has increased. To help make sure that the government improves the way that it provides housing adaptations to disabled people, one of the final recommendations in the report asked for the government to set up housing and health partnership boards across the country and give these local boards the responsibility of making sure that the impact of the DFG is maximised in their respective areas.   To view the full report visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/disabled-facilities-grant-and-other-adaptations-external-review.  

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