Plans To Improve Support For Disabled People Living At Home

Proposals to widen the scope and improve the delivery of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) programme by making the application process more flexible, easier and quicker are being consulted on.

The Government’s DFG programme provides nearly 35,000 grants each year in England to older and disabled people for housing adaptations such as ramps, lifts and level access showers. Disabled people in all housing tenures can apply for a grant.

The Government is proposing changes in the short and long term to enable councils to provide more front line support for vulnerable people who need help with home adaptations, as part of a wider progressive social care package which supports independent living.

The three-month consultation follows on from recommendations made in an independent report on the DFG programme commissioned by the Government and undertaken by Bristol University.

One key recommendation, to remove the means test for children with disabilities, was implemented in January 2006.

Housing Minister Baroness Andrews said the DFG programme was a vital part of Government policy to help older and disabled people remain in their own homes and live a safe and fulfilling life.

“We have now thoroughly reviewed the operation of the entire grant delivery system and the changes we are now proposing will make the help available more accessible, comprehensive and fair.

“There are many complex challenges to be met in providing a service which will meet the continuous increase in demand for the grant within a coherent system of support for independent living at home. The consultation addresses these terms of what can be done now, but also, in preparation for the future.”

The Government is also today making available £126m for the DFG programme in England for 2007-08, an increase of 5 per cent on the amount for 2006-07.

Since 1997 the Government has more than doubled Government funding for the programme in England, from £57 million to £126 million in 2007/08.

Local authorities are being informed of their individual allocations.