Boost to housing funding for the elderly and disabled

26 January 2018   By Angela Moran

The Government has announced an additional £42 million of funding for housing adaptations to ensure elderly and disabled people can stay in their homes.

home buying new keys
Credit: Brian A Jackson/

Announced as part of the Autumn Budget, the extra funding is for the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), which operates in England.

This funding is in addition to the £431 million the Government has already pledged to the DFG for the 2017/2018 financial year.

Heather Wheeler, Minister for Housing and Homelessness, says that "even a small adaptation to a home can make a big difference", allowing people to remain in their homes and not have to "struggle with the stairs or in simply taking a shower or bath".

Not only is it hoped that the move will help to improve the quality of life of many older and disabled people across England, but by ensuring they can remain in their own homes the move could have the added benefit of easing pressure on the already stretched social housing stock.

How does the DFG work?

The DFG allows local authorities to allocate money to older and disabled people to adapt their homes in a number of ways to ensure that they can continue to live there independently and safely.

Home adaptations can range from something as small as a handrail on the stairs to help prevent falls, to more costly alterations such as ramps and stair lifts, level access showers, door widening and even home extensions to ensure all rooms can be easily accessed.

The average funding per household is £6,500 and eligibility for a grant is means tested for those aged 17 and over, with a maximum grant of £30,000 available.

The DFG allocates grants to people in a number of different housing situations, including those who own and occupy their homes, private renters and both local authority and housing association tenants.

What are the benefits?

The benefits to individual recipients are numerous. The ability to remain in their own homes is undoubtedly the primary benefit, as well as being able to live more comfortably and safely, without having to worry about the cost of amendments.

More widely, the DFG funding could also help to ease demand for social housing by helping people remain in homes which would otherwise no longer be fit for purpose, particularly for those who own their own home.

In recent years pressure on social housing has steadily increased. This kind of housing accounts for 17% of all households in England, but there simply aren't enough houses for everyone that needs one.

As a result, just last October Theresa May promised £2 billion more in funding to build 5,000 extra council and housing association properties each year.

Eligibility for social housing depends on a number of factors. However, local authorities must give preference to those who need to move for medical or welfare issues, and many elderly and disabled people whose homes no longer safely support them fall into this category.

This is compounded by the fact that both those with disabilities and the elderly are among the most likely in society to live in poverty - which provides another incentive to apply for social housing.

As such, the fact that the DFG funding allows elderly and disabled people to remain in their homes undoubtedly relieves pressure on the social housing stock which they might otherwise turn to for help.


Get insider tips and the latest offers in our newsletter

independent comparison

We are independent of all of the products and services we compare.

fair comparison

We order our comparison tables by price or feature and never by referral revenue.

charity donations

We donate at least 5% of our profits to charity, and we aim to be climate positive.