Call our free helpline0808 808 3555
Call our free helpline
0808 808 3555
Caring for a disabled child can sometimes be made easier with the
use of certain aids and equipment. Some items such as mobility aids
or special beds are expensive and the range available is vast.
In general, social services are responsible for providing
equipment for daily living and non-medical needs, and your health
authority is responsible for providing equipment to meet nursing or
In addition, equipment to help a child access the curriculum may
be arranged by a school or local education authority. Our special
helpline education specialists can provide further information
about your child's
rights to support at school.
How to ask about aids and equipment
To find out what aids and equipment you might be entitled to,
you can contact a healthcare or personal care professional such as
a social worker, GP, district nurse, physiotherapist or school
An occupational therapist (OT) or social worker will usually
visit you in your home to discuss the situation further and carry
out the assessment. An OT is a professional who can advise on
equipment for daily living and managing more easily within the
An adaptation is a change made to your home to make it more
accessible and safer for a disabled person. You may be entitled to
a grant to cover the costs of any work you need carried out in your
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) in England, Northern Ireland and
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, DFGs
are awarded where works are considered essential to enable better
access and movement at home or to make it safe for a disabled
occupant. A DFG can help with the cost of, for example:
DFGs are not means tested, which means the income and savings of
parents and carers are not taken into account for works to meet the
needs of a disabled child or young person under 19.
The exceptions are when the young person is getting certain
means-tested benefits in their own right or when they are in
How to request a DFG
Speak to your local council about making a formal application
for a DFG. The statuatory time limit for assessing a formal
application is six months. Most local authorities will ask for an
assessment from an occupational therapist (OT) or social worker to
decide if the work is 'necessary and appropriate' to meet your
However, it is important to note that contacting social services
or the OT with a request for a DFG assessment is not the same as
making a formal application. If you have asked for an assessment
without making a formal application, you might face lengthy delays.
This is because unlike formal applications, there is no statutory
time limit on how long you have to wait to see an OT.
To minimise delays, make a formal application for a grant as
soon as you can so you can get a decision within the six-month time
limit. You can do this even if you are still waiting for an OT to
visit to do an assessment.
The local authority may also be able to provide discretionary
assistance where for example the works aren't considered to be
`necessary and appropriate' or costs of the works exceed the
Contact our helpline for information about
this, if you're experiencing delays or having problems with getting
a formal application form.
The Scheme of Assistance in Scotland
In Scotland, 'mandatory grants' are available to home owners and
private tenants under a process called the
Scheme of Assistance. These are awarded for work regarded as
essential to meet the needs of a disabled person. A grant must
cover at least 80 per cent of approved costs, with the other 20 per
cent being means tested.
Local authority and housing association tenants may also qualify
for assistance making their home more suitable. The works have to
be assessed as necessary in order for major works to be carried out
free of charge by the council. Speak to your local council about
making a grant application.
Further advice about help to pay for adaptations can be found on
website. The Scottish government has also produced a
range of guides with further information about adaptations.