Disability Facilities Grant
Not sure if this is in the correct category or if any-one with more experience than me can help. I’ve been helping a client who is looking for a grant for a stairlift for her husband. She was turned down for the Disability Facilities Grant and I queried whether this could be appealed.
I was told no and given this explanation:
“There is no right of appeal because the grant was not refused. There is a significant difference between a grant refusal and an applicant not being eligible. If an application was refused due to a subjective judgement, for example, that it was not reasonable or practical to adapt a property then the applicant would be able to appeal the decision. However the financial test of resources is required because the cost of work exceeds £6,000. Following the test of resources the applicant’s contribution significantly exceeds likely cost of the grant (a quote for the wet room has not been requested as the contribution was so high) therefore the applicant is not eligible for assistance from the council as they would have to fully fund the adaptation. The applicant has in essence been awarded a Nil Grant. We try not to use this terminology as the awarding of a grant of zero value raises expectations and causes confusion.
The only way we would be able to proceed with the application would be if the applicant’s financial position changed, including being in receipt of certain benefits. I will write to the applicant detailing exactly what financial information the test of resources has been based on and ask them to contact me should anything have changed.”
Is this completely true (the Council in question don’t have a strong record in telling us everything) and is there any way we can move forward with this - I wondered if Judicial Review would be an option but unsure.
Would be grateful for any thoughts on this.
The way I think I’d approach this is to look at whether an award would be made in your particular client’s circumstances. It sounds like the local authority think that based on the calculation of how much she’d have to contribute she’d be liable to pay the whole cost.
A bit like checking whether someone is entitled to a means-tested benefit really. No point applying / challenging if the end result is a nil award.
Obviously if they’ve got their figures wrong a challenge or new application could be made on that basis.
See section 3.5 of our factsheet Disability equipment and home adaptations which explains how the means test for DFG’s works in practice.
As we also note, the Disability Rights Handbook has an even more in-depth explanation and as Mairi notes, if the clients don’t satisfy the means-test or financial assessment, then they can’t be awarded the DFG unfortunately. So that’s the first thing to check over.
Agree with Paul and Mairi ... but:
LAs in England can, if they wish, use the RRO (regulatory reform order) to meet costs at their discretion despite the results of the DFG means test. Always worth a bit of lobbying. You may wish to consider whether they could easily afford the works themselves and any discretionary payment might reduce funds available for other applicants.
Thank you all for the replies - very helpful!