Renovating a house to make it more suitable for a disabled or elderly member of the family is not a cheap job but there are some grants that you can apply for. Grants aren’t the only solution, it’s also possible to get funds from grant-giving charities and benevolent funds.
Grants from Local Authorities
The main source of grants for improving disabled access, at least in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), available from your local authority who are empowered to offer finance to a current maximum of £25,000. These are assessed on a test of the amount of finance that people need and take household income into account as well as savings. So the actual amount of any DFG award could be very small, it all depends on circumstances. In Scotland people should apply to their local council’s social services department to fins out what grants might be available.
There are also options to get grants of equipment, rather than finance, from local councils. What’s on offer varies from area to area and although sometimes it will be free, sometimes there will be a charge, but it will be at a heavily subsided rate. Things like stairlifts and special baths may be available which can be very useful for a renovation
Charities as a Source of Funds and Grants
Once the local authority grants avenue has been exhausted, people who are still short of funds should turn to charities and benevolent funds and trusts. The most likely source of funds is a charity that specialises in the relevant form of disability. It may be that they are not able to help with funds but could provide free or subsidised equipment.
Depending on the charity and whether or not there are people in your area, they may even help with labour, if you are doing the work to provide access yourself. A team of willing volunteers will turn up to help although it’s a good idea if you can provide some help to the next person in need.
Grants from Benevolent Trusts
Benevolent trusts are somewhat different from charities. They are funds that have been set up to support a particular cause or to be used in a certain area, a village, town or city. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but a list can normally be found in a central library which will detail the sort of activity or the area that they will support.
The next step will be to write to each trust to outline what you need the money for and how it would be spent. Assuming that the spending falls into the correct area for the trust, applicants are likely to then be asked to fill in a form with more details, or perhaps meet the trustees who take care of the fund. They will then decide whether or not the work is the right cause for their trust to support and award grants accordingly.
VAT Refunds for Disabled Access Renovations
Regardless of where the funds come from to improve disabled access in the home, whether it’s from grants or donations, people should be aware that some of the work is exempt from VAT. So once all the bills are paid, get onto the local tax and customs office (HMRC) and see if some of them can be claimed back.
Make sure every single receipt is kept though, there won’t be a penny back given back without them.