Health and Wellbeing
Disabled Facilities Grant: What it Means for You
Intro: Overview of DFG
The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) was introduced to support those with disabilities or chronic illness under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act in 1996. Since then, the DFG has helped thousands of people to make the necessary home alterations to live life more independently.
Oak Tree Mobility has analysed data from the 108 councils that responded to our Freedom of Information Act (2000) request. Through our analysis, we are able to share the challenges, demands and delays of the Disabled Facilities Grants throughout the UK.
In the last 5 years, £667,792,970.39 has been awarded to individuals from the 108 councils that responded. The maximum grant payable under a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is £30,000 in England, £25,000 in Northern Ireland and £36,000 in Wales. Scotland has a different system under The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.
The DFG is available to those who need to make adaptions to their home such as widening doorways for wheelchair access, building ramps, building an extension such as a downstairs bathroom, improving garden access or providing a suitable heating system. The amount of money given through a DFG will depend on the works required, in addition to the income and savings of the disabled person and their partner (after the first £6000 of savings). If the applicant is able to, a contribution of payment will need to be made for the works.
Eligibility for the Disabled Facilities Grant is relatively straightforward. The applicant must have a disability and intend to live in the property during the grant period (usually around 5 years, although this could be shorter if the applicant has a terminal illness). Additionally, your local authority must be happy that the work is necessary and appropriate to meet the disabled person’s needs. The works must also be reasonably achieved, depending on the age and condition of the property. Any work required must also be completed within 12 months of grant approval.
The Demand for Disabled Facilities Grants
There have been an estimated 107,536 DFG applications in the UK in the last five years. During the five-year period, the number of applications placed has grown by about 15%. Of those applications, it is estimated that approximately 82% of these applications were successful. The number of grants awarded is growing near proportion to the number of overall applications at about 14%. It may be that as we as a society have become more educated about disabilities and have better access to information and resources on what support may be available - individuals now feel more confident to apply for the grants they need.
On average, each council has awarded £5,962,437 during the 5-year period and the average grant awarded per applicant is £7,535.60.
Our research showed that the average wait time to receive a grant from the council was 46 days. However, over the span of the 5 years, average wait times have increased by 10%. Understandably, as demand grows, it would take longer for local councils to assess applications and get back to applicants. In the last 5 years, we have also seen Google searches for Disabled Facilities Grants increase by around 39%, indicating that more people are looking for this information.
If you're wondering what application volumes, wait times and average grant amounts are like in your area, we've highlighted the stand-out regions! Take a look to see if your local council features below.
Manchester City Council has the highest number of total DFG applications received, with 5,470 applications over the specified period. The percentage of successful applications accepted by the council is 79%, which is about 3% below the national average. Manchester City Council has received the highest total funding between 2018/19 and 2022/23 among the councils listed, with a sum of £33,330,000.00.The council with the lowest number of applications is North East Derbyshire Council with just 155 applications in the specified 5-year period.
Regionally, the residents of North East England have the shortest wait to receive a grant with an average wait of 30 days. However, on a more local level, Norwich City Council has the shortest average waiting time of just one day. On the other end of the spectrum, in Three Rivers District Council in the East of England has the longest average waiting time of 281 days.
Average Grant Amounts
By the seaside in Hastings Borough Council, residents receive the highest average award value per grant of £17,760.04. This is 90.5% higher than Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council which averages at just £1,679.29 per grant. However, it is reported that they have also received the lowest total funding between 2018/19 and 2022/23 among the councils listed, with a sum of £448,371.31.
The Financial Cost of Home Adaptations for Disabilities
Adapting your home can be a costly and time-consuming process, especially if your council has long wait times on awarding DFGs. Here are some of the financial costs that you may expect when it comes to requesting and budgeting for a DFG.
According to the Personal Social Services Research unit in a 2018 study they found that the total mean cost of major adaptations was £16,647 ranging from £2,474 to £36,681. They found a median cost of £451 for minor adaptations, ranging from £63 to £1,424. However, these costs would be likely to have increased in the last 5 years.
Check-a-trader has a handy guide to help you break down the average costs associated with different ramps.
|Wheelchair Ramp Cost||Price Range - Low||Price Range - High||Average UK Cost|
|Stepless heavy-duty wheelchair ramp||£600||£1400||£1000|
|Highrise wheelchair ramp system||£1200||£1560||£1380|
|Average Installation Cost||£150||£250||£200|
The cost of a stairlift in the UK can vary depending on the length and if there are any curves required to move around corners. According to the UK Care Guide, a straight stairlift costs between £2,000 and £4,000 on average. A curved stairlift is considerably more expensive, ranging between an average of £5,000 and £10,000, inclusive of installation.
Bathrooms may be a key priority for those who need to make mobility modifications to improve safety and accessibility. To prevent slips and falls, you may want to introduce handrails, bath lifts, an emergency call alert button or a wheelchair-optimised shower. Depending on your unique needs, there are many different options to select from.