Disabled Facilities Grant funding welcome, but families still face 18-month assessment waits

2 mins read

Monday 6 December 2021

Tags: counting the costs, campaigns, housing, disabled facilities grant, adaptations

We are pleased to see the government heed the advice in our Counting the Costs campaign by agreeing to expand the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), but this alone will not solve all the many complex housing problems faced by families. 

Ministers have committed £570m per year so that local areas can deliver the DFG as part of adult social care reform plans, as well as pledged to increase the grant threshold for individual adaptations and to fund a new service focused on minor home repairs. 

While this is good news, it fulfils just one of the four urgent recommendations made by Contact in light of the worrying findings of our #CountingTheCosts survey. 

The reality is that thousands of families with disabled children will continue to struggle in unsuitable housing due to lengthy assessment delays that prevent them from accessing the DFG in the first place. 

Una Summerson, Contact’s campaigns manager, said: “While increasing the grants available is a welcome step forward, our helpline advisers continue to hear from families whose local authorities are refusing to assess their housing needs.  

“This is often due to a shortage of occupational therapists available, sometimes leading to staggering wait times of 18 months before families can be assessed. Other times, local authorities fail to provide the necessary forms or signpost parents to social services when applications should be dealt with by the housing team. 

“And even amongst those who do secure an assessment, there is no guarantee that works will take place. Local authorities may deem it more cost-effective to arrange alternative accommodation instead of funding adaptations, at which point families face yet another lengthy waiting list. 

“If the government are serious about providing suitable homes for disabled people, they must also commit to building more affordable social housing which priorities families in need, reducing waiting times for adaptations, and introducing higher accessibility standards in new homes.” 

Join our campaign 

Poor and unsuitable housing was just one of the many concerns raised by families with disabled children in our Counting the Costs survey

Join our campaign to call for a benefits and support system that genuinely values carers. Email our template letter to your MP demanding change.