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Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) Adaptations in Hampshire


A Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is available to anyone in the UK who is confirmed by a medical professional as having a permanent and substantial disability. In Hampshire a child or young person will need to be assessed by a Hampshire Children's Services Occupational Therapist (OT) as eligible to receive adaptations to their home in order for their needs to be met.

The Occupational Therapy Service will then liaise with the relevant District or Borough Council who holds responsibility for administering the funding.

 

What are the DFG criteria?

The criteria are as follows: 

• Facilitating access by the disabled occupant to a room used or usable as the principal family room; 

• Facilitating access by the disabled occupant to, or providing for the disabled occupant, a room used or usable for sleeping; 

• Facilitating access by the disabled occupant to, or providing for the disabled occupant, a room in which there is a lavatory, or facilitating the use by the disabled occupant of such a facility; 

• Facilitating access by the disabled occupant to, or providing for the disabled occupant, a room in which there is a bath or shower (or both), or facilitating the use by the disabled occupant of such a facility; 

• Facilitating access by the disabled occupant to, or providing for the disabled occupant, a room in which there is a wash hand basin, or facilitating the use by the disabled occupant of such a facility; 

• Facilitating the preparation and cooking of food by the disabled occupant; 

• Improving any heating system in the dwelling to meet the needs of the disabled occupant or, if there is no existing heating system or any such system is unsuitable for use by the disabled occupant, providing a heating system suitable to meet his needs;

• Facilitating the use by the disabled occupant of a source of power, light or heat by altering the position of one or more means of access to or control of that source or by providing additional means of control;

• Facilitating access and movement by the disabled occupant around the dwelling in order to enable for them to care for a person who is normally resident and is in need of such care;

It is also possible for a DFG to be used to gain safe access to a garden, however there are restrictions on how this can be used here. It can be used to create a safe route with an accessible doorway and for a level area of approximately 2.5m x 2.5m within the immediate garden area.

The DFG will not fund access to all/furthest parts of the garden.

How do I access a grant for my child/ young person?

In order to access a grant for your child, you will need to request an assessment from the Children's Services Occupational Therapy service at Hampshire County Council, which can be done by calling 0300 555 1378.

Unfortunately DFG referrals will not be accepted from private OTs or health OT’.

Whilst your child will be assessed by an OT from the Children’s Services Department at Hampshire County Council, the DFG funding is held and administered by the Housing Grants team at your local housing authority (e.g. the local district or borough council you pay council tax to).

The local housing authority will consider the OT’s recommendations and the DFG legislation when agreeing what funding will be available for a DFG, and everyone involved often needs to work closely together on each adaptation.

DFG funding

DFGs are non-means tested for any child, up to and including the age of 19 (if in full education), who has a permanent and substantial learning and/or physical disability.

This means that when making a decision on DFG funding the local housing authority will not consider the financial situation of the child or their parents/ legal guardians.

The DFG has a maximum limit of £30,000. If the work exceeds this amount then a family may be required to make additional contributions and/or apply for discretionary top ups from the local authority/landlord.

The recommended work should meet the needs of the disabled child for a minimum of 5 years. Local housing authorities reserve the right to request a refund of monies if a family chooses to move house within this period.

If a child’s needs change unexpectedly within this 5 year period, and the adaptations in place are no longer appropriate, then a new OT assessment will need to be requested.

What adaptations may be covered under the DFG?

Your child’s OT assessment will help to identify any provisions or adaptations required to meet their long term needs.

These may include such things as:

  • Access to the property e.g. shallow steps, ramping, widened doorways, level thresholds, door opening systems. If the access to the property is too steep to allow for a suitable gradient for a wheelchair ramp, we may have to consider an external step-lift.
  • Access to the garden- e.g. wheelchair accessible doorways, ramps, door openers
  • Level access showers/wet rooms
  • Wash-dry toilets e.g. Closomat/Gerberit
  • Through floor lifts & stair-lifts
  • Garage conversions (where appropriate to meet assessed needs)
  • Safety alterations in a bedroom/living area e.g. wall padding
  • Ceiling track hoists (the DFG will usually fund 1 hoist. Additional hoists that are assessed to be needed will require funding from the Children’s OT service.)

What adaptations are not covered by the DFG?

(this list is not exhaustive):

• Safe play rooms
• Therapy/Sensory rooms
• Creating extra bedrooms to manage an overcrowding issue
• Access to a dining table/area
• Conservatories
• Sheds/Outhouses
• Fencing
• Garden adaptations e.g. to make the garden safe or to give full access/access to the furthest parts of the garden
• Sensory equipment/ garden equipment

How will the Occupational Therapist (OT) assess my child’s needs?

A Children & Families OT will visit you and your child at home to complete an assessment to determine your child’s needs and consider how these can best be met.

The OT will complete a DP25 form with you, which will detail your child’s assessed needs and the OT’s recommendations and agreed actions. You will be given a copy of this form to keep.

If the OT feels that your child’s needs could be met through a DFG, they will complete a referral and send this to your local housing authority. This referral will include the OT’s recommendations and also the specifications for the facilities being requested e.g. size of shower area, type of toilet, size of basin, gradient of ramp etc.

Sometimes due to the nature of a family’s housing and the needs of the disabled child, it is not reasonable or practicable to use a DFG to make adaptations and moving to another house may be a better way of meeting your child’s needs. If this is suggested, the OT will be able to write a comprehensive rehousing report and share this with you and any other relevant parties e.g. Housing Associations, local housing allocation teams.

If you own your home, the OT will work with you and your local authority housing department to explore your housing options. The OT is able to view potential properties for clients of all tenures to help ensure that you move to a property that will meet your child’s long term needs.

What will the District or Borough Council Grants team do?

  • The local authority housing grants team will use the information provided in the OT referral to decide whether the requested adaptations meet the DFG criteria.
  • If your referral is accepted then you will be sent a grant application form to complete. The local housing authority may also request quotes for stair-lifts and through floor lifts at this stage, which the OT Service can help you to obtain.
  • Once the application has been processed, a grants officer will arrange a visit to your property. The timescales for this visit varies between the different local housing authorities. Your OT can advise you of the likely timescales in your area.
  • The grants officer may complete a visit by themselves, or if the request is more complicated, the OT may attend with them. The grants officer will determine how they feel they can meet your child’s identified needs in the most ‘practicable’ and ‘reasonable’ way, as specified in the Housing Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. In this piece of legislation, the term practicable relates specifically to the age and condition of your property.
  • The grants team receive a large volume of referrals and therefore have to try and consider the most cost-effective solution in each case, to enable them to help as many people as possible. The scheme that they propose for your child may not necessarily be your preferred option. In such cases, this can be discussed further with the grants officer and the OT.
  • If your referral is not accepted by the local housing authority you can appeal their decision. Please ask the local housing authority for their procedure and discuss this with the OT Service.

What is a Home Improvement Agent (HIA)? How can they help in this process?

Some local authorities offer the opportunity for home improvement agents (HIA) to project manage larger DFG works for example Community First in the New Forest and Test Valley Borough Council or Family Mosaic in Basingstoke.

The HIA will provide a surveyor/architect to draw plans, will apply for building regulations and/or planning on your behalf and put work out to tender to obtain quotes (generally they will get 3). They will also liaise with builders prior to and during any works. On average the agent charges a 10% fee for this work, which comes out of the DFG. In the early stages of the process your OT or grants officer will discuss whether a HIA might be helpful.

It is possible for you to project manage the work yourself but it may be helpful to discuss the pros and cons of doing so with your Grants Officer and/or the OT before making this decision.

How does the tenure of housing affect the DFG?

We are owner occupiers how will this affect the DFG?

If your preferred scheme exceeds the costs that the local authority is able to approve, then it may be possible, if you have the means to do so, to fund a ‘top up’. The local authority will advise how much their scheme would have cost, and can offer you this contribution towards your preferred scheme.

Before any grant money can be approved, the OT and the grants officer need to agree that your scheme will still be able to meet your child’s needs as identified in the OT referral. If your scheme does not meet the necessary specifications as laid out by the OT, then the grant cannot be awarded. The OT will support you with this during the planning stages.

For smaller scale works, you can choose to make a ‘top up’ to fund things such as different tiles in the bathroom, alternative flooring, different doors etc. If you receive DFG monies towards adapting your home, the local authority will place a land charge on your property that will come into effect if you move within 5 years of the works being completed. This charge will have to be paid back to the Council upon the sale of your property. Should the local authority discover that it is not possible to adapt your home, for example due to structural/ planning issues or limitations associated to the building being listed, they will advise you on your housing options.

We are social housing tenants - how will this affect the DFG?

The local authority will share the plans for any proposed works with your landlord, and their consent will be requested. If works appear to exceed the maximum DFG budget, the local housing authority will have to explore additional funds. If this is not achievable, re-housing may need to be discussed. If DFG funds are spent on your property, your landlord and the local authority will expect you to remain in your tenancy for a minimum of 5 years.

We are privately renting – how will this affect the DFG?

A DFG can be used to adapt a privately rented property, however the local authority will require written permissions from the landlord, and you will need to have a 5 year tenancy contract in place. If you decide to move within this 5 year period, or if the landlord decides to sell, there may be a charge from the local authority.

Where can I find more information on DFG grants in my local area?

More information about DFG in your local area is available from your local District and Borough Council. Please note that some of their web pages only include information about how to request an Occupational Therapy Assessment for an adult.

To request an assessment for a child under 18 years (19 if in full time education), contact the Children's Services Occupational Therapy Service.

For information on your District or Borough Council DFG process, contact:

Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council

Eastleigh Borough Council

East Hampshire District Council

Fareham Borough Council

Gosport Borough Council 

Hart District Council

Havant Borough Council

New Forest District Council

Rushmoor Borough Council

Test Valley Borough Council

Winchester District Council

Checked: 19/06/2018

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