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Disabled facilities grant


Disabled facilities grants help disabled and elderly people to live more comfortably and independently in their own homes by funding approved adaptations.

Means-tested grants of up to £30,000 are available to home owners and tenants to enable suitable adaptations to take place.

Sunderland City Council's Occupational Therapy Service will visit your home to recommend what modifications are required. The Home Improvement Agency will then assess and approve grant applications and will oversee the adaptation process.

A financial assessment will determine if you qualify for a grant or need to make a contribution towards the cost of the work. If you fail to qualify, we can still support you through the adaptation process.

Disabled children are exempt from means-testing and if you are in receipt of Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit or Tax Credits you will not be required to provide any further financial information to qualify for a grant.


What kind of work is carried out using a disabled facilities grant?

The adaptation must be 'necessary and appropriate' to meet your needs. It should be 'reasonable and practical' to carry out the relevant work having regard to the age and condition of the property or dwelling.

When carrying out the work, every effort is made to ensure that any disruption and inconvenience is minimised.


Access within your home

  • Stair lifts help you to get up and down stairs safely but leave a narrower space for other people to use the stairs. A chair travels along a metal track mounted on top of the stair carpet. If you are considering replacing carpets, you should do this before we fit the lift. There is a charge for removal and replacement. The work normally takes a day to complete with little disruption. If electricity or gas meters, radiators and other fixtures and fittings have to be moved, the installation company will do this but this will take longer
  • Ceiling track hoists fixed to the ceiling of a room to help transfer people from one place to another. The installation may involve the lifting of carpets or floorboards in the room above the hoist. There may be some dust and slight damage to ceilings and walls where the hoist and electrical supply are fitted. Work will normally take one day to complete
  • Vertical lift involves cutting a hole in the floor and ceiling of the two rooms to be connected. Two vertical rails are attached to the wall to carry the lift. The lift motor is usually fitted outside and there may be damage to your decoration where holes are cut for connecting services. Radiators may also require repositioning or removal to enable the work to proceed. These actions are disruptive and may cause a lot of dust. The rooms will be made safe for you to use overnight but while the workmen are on site you will not have access to the rooms while work is in progress. Once in use, a false floor will close the opening when the lift platform is not present. The work can take up to a week to complete


Toilets and bathing

  • Automatic toilets have an in-built washing and drying facility and replace your existing toilet. Some plumbing and electrical work is needed and there may be some disturbance to your decoration. Your original floor covering may need to be refitted to suit the shape of the automatic toilet. The work is normally completed within one day.
  • Over bath shower is a shower unit fitted over the existing bath. The work may involve removing the bath panel, lifting carpets and floorboards and working in the loft to install electrical cables and pipe work. It may be a necessary to run cables in walls by cutting a groove for the cable and then re-plastering which would cause damage to your decoration. Alternatively, the cable could be placed within plastic trunking fitted on top of the wall surface. Usually, the shower wall will be tiled up to 2 metres (6'6") above floor level using plain white tiles (unless you supply an alternative tile) and a shower curtain provided for the other sides. If necessary, an extractor fan will be fitted through the external wall, ceiling or window. The work will take between three and four days to complete
  • Level access shower - this will include all the work in providing an over bath shower but will also involve temporarily removing the bath, wash hand basin and the toilet to allow the floor to be removed and re-laid with a fall for drainage. The new floor will be covered in vinyl if it is wooden or non-slip quarry tiles if concrete. Once the floor is complete your bathroom fittings (except the bath) will be refitted. If the toilet is unavailable for use for more than one day, the contractor will arrange temporary facilities unless you chose to make your own arrangements. The work will take between four and five days to complete
  • Additional WCs will involve laying new drains and plumbing work which can involve lifting floor coverings and floors. If the WC cannot be located within the existing property then a small extension may need to be considered.


Access to your home

  • Ramps - while constructing a ramp to your door, you will need to use an alternative entrance or a temporary ramp. Once sidewalls have been built the ramp will be laid in concrete or paving blocks. There should be minimum mess and your home will be secure at all times. Depending on its size, a ramp could take more than a week to construct.
  • Widening doors or removing walls - these alterations can involve removing brickwork and plaster and will result in a lot of noise and dust. It may involve some structural work which will be discussed with you before starting. Depending on the amount of work involved, this could take two to 14 days.