Many parents dream of making alterations to their home when they have a child with disabilities. Adapting the home can make life easier, but alterations can be expensive and many families can’t afford to pay for the work involved.
Alterations may include widening doorways for wheelchair access, installing ramps, fitting a stairlift, or adding a shower seat or bath lift.
But in terms of cost, stairlift prices can range anywhere from £2,000 - £6,000 depending on the layout of your stairs. It is possible to install a stairlift on most types of staircases, but stairlifts for narrow stairs or stairs with curves or corners will cost significantly more.
This is where financial aid should be considered. Financial aid is available from a number of places, but it can be confusing to know where to turn for help.
Here we look at different sources of funding for home adaptations.
Minor adaptations that cost under £1,000 are usually provided free of charge. You will need to contact your local social services department to arrange an assessment of your child’s needs.
For major adaptations that will cost over £1,000, parents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can apply to their local council for a Disabled Facilities Grant. Disabled Facilities Grants are means-tested and not everyone will qualify. Your household income, savings and any benefits you receive will be taken into account.
Your child’s eligibility will need to be assessed by an occupational therapist and it can take a few months for a council to reach a decision. The amount awarded may cover the full cost of the work or just a proportion. You may have to pay for some of the work yourself.
In Scotland there is a similar grants system. Parents need to contact their local authority to arrange an assessment and apply.
Funding from charitable organisations
Families who don’t qualify for financial help from their local authority may be able to receive funding from charities.
There are a number of nationwide and local charities that can provide funding to help children with disabilities. Each has its own criteria and parents will need to contact them directly for full details.
Organisations that offer funding to pay for home adaptations for children and young people with disabilities include:
• Independence at Home
Take a look at these organisations websites and find out if help may be available to you.