Adapting a home

If your injuries mean that you have to adapt your home to make life easier for you, there is financial support available. Any of the many Service charities may also be able to help.

 

Getting a care needs assessment

If you need support with daily living because you're disabled, elderly, or you have a long-term health condition, then you have the right to an assessment by your local authority.

If you haven’t already done so, contact your local social services department to have your needs assessed.

  • Apply to your local council's social services department for a care needs assessment.
  • In Northern Ireland, assessments are carried out by your local trust. You can find the trust nearest to you by searching on the nidirect website.

Major or minor adaptations

The financial help that is available depends on whether the adaptations you need to make to your home are minor or major.

  • Minor adaptations would include, for example, fitting lever taps in the kitchen, or hand rails around the home.
  • Major adaptations could include, for example, installing a downstairs shower room, widening doorways, or lowering the work tops in your kitchen.

Minor adaptations and equipment - what help is available?

If you live in England

Your local authority in England will normally provide you with disability equipment and small adaptations costing less than £1,000 free of charge, as long as you’ve been assessed as needing it and you are eligible.

If you live in Wales

You may have to pay towards disability equipment and minor adaptations but the amount you’re asked to pay must be reasonable and based on your financial circumstances.

If you live in Scotland

Your local council in Scotland will normally provide you with essential equipment or adaptations costing less than £1,500 free of charge.

If you live in Northern Ireland

Your local trust will decide whether they will fund the equipment or minor adaptation or whether you’ll have to pay for it yourself.

Funding major adaptations – the Disabled Facilities Grant

For more major adaptations to make your home accessible you will normally have to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant. These are paid by your local authority (or Local Housing Executive if you live in Northern Ireland).

Are you eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant?

 You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant if your local authority is satisfied that the work you’re having done is necessary and appropriate for your needs. This usually involves an assessment by an occupational therapist.

The grants are means-tested (unless you’re applying for a disabled child under the age of 17), so the local authority will take into account any income and savings that you and your partner have. The Royal British Legion can help you with your application if you wish.

How much can you get?

The maximum amount you can get for a Disabled Facilities Grant depends on where in the UK you live.

  Maximum Disabled Facilities Grant payable 
England £30,000
Wales    £36,000
Scotland The amount you get varies depending on your local council.
Northern Ireland
£25,000

How to claim a Disabled Facilities Grant

Find out how to claim a Disabled Facilities Grant on the Gov.uk website.

Find out more about Disabled Facilities Grants in Northern Ireland on the nidirect website.

Help is at hand from your local Home Improvement Agency

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to getting funding, planning the work and employing tradespeople, Home Improvement Agencies can ease a lot of the worry.

They can help in a variety of ways including: 

  • Visiting your home and providing advice
  • Getting quotes 
  • Drawing up plans for the work
  • Checking what financial help you may be eligible for. 

They also publish a list of trusted tradespeople on their website.

For more information, including how to find your local Home Improvement Agency, see the Foundations website. 

Grants - in Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland, there are a number of grants available to improve or adapt your home. Check out the Housing Executive website for details of the funding available.

Funding repairs, improvements and adaptations

Significant improvements can be costly but help is available from a variety of sources. Service charities can help with money towards adapting your own home or vehicle on a case by case basis.

MOD help

If you live in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or Single Living Accommodation (SLA), the MOD will adapt your home for you or a member of your family. Many units already have adapted accommodation. You should contact your CO or unit HR in the first instance.

If you live in your own home, you may be able to get help from the MOD's Works Requirement Team. The MOD will pay for essential work needed under medical and clinical needs and which are required to meet building regulations standards under the Disability Discrimination Act. The team is notified of someone who needs help to adapt his or her home by the Personnel Recovery Unit. A home visit is then organised with the DIO requirements team, the injured person, a local surveyor and an occupational therapist. Then a requirements document is produced which is put out to contractors to tender for the work.

The work deemed essential is paid for out of the Net Additional Cost of Military Operations (NACMO) Fund, while work deemed desirable will be met by youtself or charities.

Charitable help

The Royal British Legion gives grants to eligible clients for mobility aids, adaptations and equipment, which include the following:

  • Accessibility fixtures and fittings eg hand or grab rails, door widening, ramps, external hard surfaces, including drop kerbs and steps and indoor fittings such as sockets, door entry systems, security fixtures and lighting
  • Shower and bathroom adaptations to aid mobility, including ramped access to existing showers
  • Mobility equipment, such as wheelchairs, Zimmer frames, manual and electric bath hoists and lifts, riser/recliners, stairlifts, electric profiling beds
  • The clients contribution to a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), subject to the Legion’s financial assessment criteria
  • Home adaptations to allow access and egress from the client’s property for an Electronically Powered Vehicle which they have supplied
  • Small jobs up to the value of £300 provided by their Poppy Calls service

See its website to find out more.

If you are receiving a war pension you may be able to get a one-off House Adaptation Grant of up to £750 from Veterans UK (formerly SPVA). This is to make a contribution towards the cost of adapting a home where the need for such an adaptation arises wholly or mainly from the accepted disablement. The grant can be issued if you cannot get help from another source such as social services. You must get approval from Veterans UK the before any costs are incurred or work started. Contact them on 0808 1914 218.

Find out if any of the other Service charities are able to help too - see Other Service Organisations on The Royal British Legion's Knowledgebase.

Don't forget to claim VAT relief

If you’re disabled, any building work you do to adapt your home may be zero-rated for VAT. Find out more about VAT exemptions on building work on HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website.  

Council Tax reduction

If the adaptations you are having done to your home push your property into a higher Council Tax band, you might be entitled to a discount on your Council Tax. This is called the ‘Disabled Band Reduction Scheme’.  Contact your local council to apply for the scheme.

Last reviewed: 11/12/2017