Grants, home adaptations and financial help for parent carers: your top questions answered

5 mins read

Thursday 2 November 2023

Tags: facebook q&a, grants, financial help, home adaptations

We recently hosted a special Facebook Q&A session where parent carers could get our team’s advice about grants, home adaptations and other sources of financial support available to families with disabled children.

To help those who weren’t able to take part, we’ve rounded up below some of the top questions asked during the session — but the rest of the Q&A remains available to read over at our private Facebook Group for parent carers.

You can also browse our online advice for more information about financial assistance for families — including grants, home adaptations, and other sources of support that can help towards the cost of household bills, health, education or transport.

Is it difficult to get funding for a specialist bed for travelling if your child already has a specialist bed for everyday use?

It can indeed be difficult to get funding for two beds, but it is not just about two beds – it’s about the needs of the child or young person. People with disabilities are often isolated because of their needs and what it entails for them to go on holiday or sleep over at nan’s house like other children.

I would suggest you make a point about the necessity of having these beds in away days from home, explaining how the lack of it at particular locations affects your child’s wellbeing and you as their parent carer.

Statutory organisations may not readily fund this, but it’s worth asking either way. You can also use the online Grants Search tool or download our list of general grant-giving charities for information about organisations that may be able to help based on your circumstances. You may have to try more than one organisation for this, but it’s worth giving it a go!

Are there any grants to help with converting a loft into a bigger bedroom for my autistic teen? He is 6ft tall and has no room to play as his double bed takes up all the space.

You could submit a request for a Disabled Facilities Grant (or home improvement grant, if you live in Scotland) to use for the purpose of providing a safe space for your child. Most local authorities will ask for an assessment from an occupational therapist or social services to help them decide if the work is ‘necessary and appropriate’ to meet your disabled child’s needs. Take a look at our Home Adaptations webpage for more information about the application process, eligibility rules and timescales involved.

We would also advise that you contact a local Home Improvement Agency service if there’s one in your area. They can offer practical help with home adaptations and improvements.

We’ve been told that a sensory shed and spa in the garden could help with my child’s needs, but my local authority said they’re not responsible for this. What can I do?

Am I correct in assuming that you are seeking planning permission from your local authority for building the sensory shed, as well as putting in a spa, as an initial step before requesting a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to fund the work? If this is the case, you may not need such permission. You can request a DFG directly through a formal application.

A DFG is a mandatory grant. This means you must be given a grant if your local authority is satisfied that the work to your home is both ‘necessary and appropriate’ to meet your disabled child’s needs, and ‘reasonable and practicable’, considering the age and condition of the property.

If you have already formalised your DFG request and have received a decision in writing, you may wish to consider making a formal complaint about your local authority’s failure to progress your application.

Our council house has an upstairs bathroom that constantly floods. It’s a battle taking my disabled child to the toilet. Can I get help with converting our shed into a downstairs toilet for her?

I would advise that you contact your local authority’s social services team to request a Child in Need assessment for your child (or to ask for a review of her assessment, if she already had one) with a view of highlighting this ongoing situation. They may be able to support you with requesting planning permission to build in the shed, which could be funded by a Disabled Facilities Grant. Another alternative many be rehousing your family in order to meet your child’s needs.

In the meantime, you may wish to consider approaching grant-giving organisations that could help you meet other related needs – for example, with household items that may require frequent changing due to flooding issues. You can use the Grants Search tool on our website to see what help may be available, as well as download our list of grant-giving charities for a summary about what each organisation can help with.