Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG)
If you're disabled you may need to make changes to your home to help make living there easier, and make your home more suitable for you.
If you are on a low income, a Disabled Facilities Grant may help towards the cost of making adaptations and improvements to your home so you can live there more independently. For example to:
- install ramps and widen doors
- install a stair lift
- convert a bathroom into a shower room with level access
- adapt heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use
- adapt a kitchen for a wheelchair user
A Disabled Facilities Grant won't affect any benefits you get.
To be eligible you or someone living with you must:
- have a disability
- be on a low income
- own the property or be a tenant (this includes housing association tenants)
- intend to live in the property for at least 5 years
To approve any application we need to be happy that the work is necessary and appropriate to meet the disabled person's needs. The proposed works must also be considered reasonable and practical.
The grant is only available to people who are on a low-income. If you are already in receipt of a certain means tested benefits, you will automatically be passported to a full grant to meet the cost of the eligible works. Otherwise a statutory means test will be used.
A preliminary means test can be used as a quick way of finding out whether you will receive a grant.
We have an online calculator app available which will enable you to calculate whether you will have to self fund any adaptation works or whether you will receive a grant. It uses the rules from The government's statutory means test to determine the contribution you are deemed to be able to afford, eg by raising a loan.
You can access the means test below:
Note: this is only a provisional eligibility check and does not supersede any further checks by the local authority, nor does it formally begin the process. A final means test will be carried out at the application stage.
How much you'll get will depend on the eligible work required, and whether you are required to pay a contribution to the cost of the work.
Whether you will need to make a contribution will depend on your household income, whether you are in receipt of any benefits and any savings you may have. This will be assessed before you make a full application so you know what your likely contribution will be.
You will not have to make a contribution if you are in receipt of certain means-tested benefits. Disabled Facilities Grants for children are not means-tested, and no contribution towards the cost is required.
The maximum amount of grant payable is £30,000. In some cases further discretionary top up grants of up to an additional £30,000 may be available for larger works. For more information please see:
If you want to be considered for a Disabled Facilities Grant, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) will arrange for an occupational therapist to contact you. They will assess your health based needs and discuss what changes you may need at home, and whether they would be considered eligible for funding.
If the occupational therapist considers that grant funded adaptation works are required, they will make a formal recommendation to the council, who will begin the application process.
- works must not have started before the council approves your application
- building regulations approval and planning permission may be required for some adaptations
- if you are a tenant, permission from a landlord is required for any works
- a Disabled Facilities Grant won't affect any benefits you get
For more information, contact details and to arrange an assessment, see:
- Adur & Worthing Private Sector Housing Assistance Policy (173KB)
- West Sussex Disabled Facilities Grants Policy 2020-2024 (1,428KB)
There are other discretionary grants available to help assist people who have disabilities. They are discretionary, which means they are subject to funds being available. Mandatory grants, such as Disabled Facilities Grants, will be prioritised first. For more information see:
While Adur & Worthing Councils get involved where there is a recommendation for significant adaptation works, our colleagues at West Sussex County Council (WSCC) are often able to improve people's safety and ability by providing equipment and minor adaptations. A few grab rails, a half step at the front door, a raised toilet seat or an additional stair rail are all simple examples which can make a world of difference but which are considered 'minor works'.
It is worth knowing that these items are not means tested and can be provided by the county council to anyone eligible.
For advice about equipment and minor works (and contact details) see:
- WSCC Adult Care Point (how to get adult social care support) - on the WSCC website
- Supporting you to live well in West Sussex - on the WSCC Connect to Support website
Adaptation grants are only available for people who are deemed to be on a low income and consequently many people who have a reasonable income and savings may not be entitled to financial assistance.
However, despite the fact that these adaptations are going to cost the householder, they are still worth considering because they may provide life changing and potentially life saving differences.
There are various websites designed to offer advice about how to adapt your home and they are good sources of research and perhaps rather more impartial than seeking advice from a product salesperson:
- Adapt My Home website
- Home adaptations to simplify home tasks - on the Age UK website
- Support to live independently - on the WSCC Connect to Support website
- Living made easy - on the Ask Sara website
When planning a project it is always helpful to plan ahead for 5 to 10 years and think how your health needs might change over time, eg it is a false economy installing a step-up shower tray now, if a level access / wet room solution might be better in the long term and allow use of wheeled mobility aids or access for carers in the future.
Always shop around when choosing a contractor, obtain multiple quotes and choose from companies who have a good track record in providing the product or adaptation you are seeking. Online trade directories such as West Sussex County Council's buy with confidence scheme will give you a good choice of companieS:
If you need help in planning and executing works you may wish to employ a surveyor to act as your agent and representative in the project. They will typically charge a fee of 10 to 15%. You can find a surveyor at the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website:
What are Disabled Facility Grants - DFG?
Grants which are made available for people with a disability (who are on a low income) to carry out adaptations to their home.
What is the financial restriction on receiving a DFG?
If a person is a child or receives a means tested income benefit (eg Universal Credit, Guaranteed Pension Credit, ESA (income related) or Housing Benefit) they will automatically be 'passported' to grant eligibility. Otherwise there is a means test and we have a preliminary means test checker which you can try.
How much will I get?
The amount of grant funding is determined by your health based needs and what works are considered 'necessary and appropriate' to meet those needs. The funding will be the amount needed to provide an adaptation which is considered 'reasonable and practical'. We will always seek to find the most cost effective solution to help the public money go as far as possible. The mandatory DFG is currently limited to a maximum of £30,000.
Do you have to be registered disabled?
No - you're considered disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. This can include reduced mobility.
Do I have to own my home?
Grants are available for owners and tenants of housing association or private rental properties. The only people we cannot help with grants are council tenants and that is because funding for necessary adaptation will be provided separately by the council as landlord. If you do not own your own home we will have to get the owner's permission for any adaptation works.
Can I send you the bill for works that I have had done?
No - grants cannot be claimed retrospectively. Grants have to be approved before work is carried out.
Is there help to manage any adaptation?
Adur & Worthing Councils' in house home improvement agency can assist with the whole process of application, drawing plans, obtaining permissions, tendering and appointing contractors to do the work for you. They do charge a fee for this service, but this can be included in the grant.
Do grants have to be paid back?
Adaptation grants are supposed to provide suitable accommodation for the long term so if a property owner receives a grant over £5,000 and that same property is sold or transferred within 10 years of the completion some of the grant would have to be repaid back into the fund that we use for other people's adaptations. The exact amount varies with the amount of the original award and the type of the grant received.
Where's the best place to start
To financially qualify you must be on a low income and this will include anyone who is on a means tested benefit such as Universal Credit. If you do not receive a means tested benefit and are not sure if you qualify, use our preliminary means test to find out.
Any adaptations need to be recommended by our occupational therapy colleagues at West Sussex County Council, so they have to be contacted to start the process. It may be that your difficulties might be resolved by equipment and an adaptation grant may not be required. For advice (and contact details) see:
Need assistance with this service?
Get in touch:
Adur & Worthing Home Improvement Assistance
Page last updated: 13 November 2023