West Sussex Disabled Facilities Grants 2024-2028

West Sussex Disabled Facilities Grants Policy 2024 - 2028

1.0 Introduction

The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)  is a mandatory grant,  provided under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (the 96 Act), towards the cost of eligible works necessary to support people of all ages and most tenures (adaptions to council owned housing are provided via a different funding stream) to live independently and safely in their own homes. Local Authorities have a statutory duty to provide DFGs to applicants who qualify. DFGs have existed for a long time helping people to stay safe and independent at home.

The Care Act 2014 shifted the focus to earlier intervention that offers a more preventative approach to supporting people.

The Districts and Boroughs in West Sussex have come together to agree a single DFG policy which applies across the whole county area. This Policy covers all seven of the District and Borough Councils in West Sussex which are referred to as ‘the Councils’ throughout the document.

Please note that adaptations for residents in council owned housing accommodation in Crawley, Arun and Adur Councils are undertaken via a separate budget and a different route. Please contact the relevant council for further information.

The principle of the service for residents across West Sussex is to provide the response to this expressed need; ‘help me live in my own home, easily and with dignity with the right adaptation when I need it.’

The joint countywide approach is underpinned by a partnership agreement and a data sharing agreement signed by all eight authorities.

This policy contains descriptions of two main types of grants:

Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants - sets out the mandatory legal framework for DFGs in accordance with the 96 Act including eligibility criteria and the prescribed means test assessment.

Discretionary Disabled Facilities Grants – sets out the Councils’ policy to provide discretionary interventions to promote independent living and wellbeing. The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 (RRO), and latterly the Better Care Fund, enable Councils to support the wider prevention agenda of housing, social care and health authorities.

1.1 General Expectations

The Councils’ decision making will take into account the following specific expectations and presumptions:

Grant works should properly and fully meet the assessed needs of the client. Grants that only partially meet those needs will only be considered in exceptional cases.

Works funded by means of DFG will be the simplest and most cost-effective adaptations that will meet the client’s assessed needs. This will include ‘making-good’ any works, such as painting or adapting floor coverings to disturbed and related areas. As adaptions are being made to client’s own homes, care will be taken where practically possible to minimise a clinical or institutional feel. The Councils appreciate that there may be situations where culturally or faith sensitive adaptation requests will need specific consideration.

Wherever the Councils judge it to be a practicable and realistic option, the re-ordering and/or change of use of existing rooms will be the preferred solution and will take precedence over the construction of extensions.

Applications for grant aided work may be considered on a case-by-case basis where relevant works have started but not been completed. Applications for a grant cannot be approved if the relevant works have been completed.

It is not possible to provide multiple grants of the same type however different types of grants may be combined where required.

2.0 Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants

Mandatory grants are available for people who are disabled and meet the criteria set out in s100 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 Act and the Equalities Act 2010 for eligible works that includes the following:

    • Facilitate access by the disabled occupant to, from and within the dwelling (for the purpose of this grant a dwelling includes mobile homes and houseboats);
    • Provide essential facilities and amenities within the dwelling; and
    • Facilitate access to and from a garden by a disabled occupant or making access to a garden safe for a disabled occupant.

A full list of grant eligible works is set out within Section 23 of the Housing Grants Construction and regeneration act 1996.

2.1 Eligibility

All owner-occupiers and tenants, licensees or occupiers meeting the statutory criteria & financial assessment set out in the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations 1996 are eligible for DFGs.  Applications must be supported by West Sussex County Council.

The Councils work closely with Housing Associations, also known as Registered Providers,  to deliver adaptations. Whilst they are expected to build funding into their business plans there is a statutory duty for Councils to approve DFG’s across all tenures except Council owned accommodation which is held within the relevant Council’s Housing Revenue Account.

The Councils will therefore work with the Housing Associations in their area to develop robust and equitable funding agreements.

Adaptations for residents in council owned housing accommodation in Crawley, Arun and Adur Councils are undertaken via a separate budget and a different route. Please contact the relevant council for further information.

2.2 Application

In order for the Councils to consider awarding a DFG, a valid application must have been received. Such an application consists of:

  • - A completed application form.
  • - For works estimated at £10,000 or over a minimum of two written quotes from two different contractors/suppliers  detailing particulars of all relevant eligible works or
  • - For works estimated at under £10,000 a minimum of one written quote.
  • - A recommendation from an appropriately qualified professional for example an Occupational Therapist (OT), Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) or Rehabilitation Officer for Visual Impairment detailing the relevant works.
  • - Details of passported benefits and/or information necessary to apply the test of resources (means test).
  • - Details of any fees or charges, e.g. architect’s or agent’s fees.
  • - Certificate of Future Occupation (normally 5 years).
  • - Proof of Title (eg from the Land Registry).

Where appropriate:

  • - Owner’s Consent
  • - Freeholder’s consent
  • - A Tenant’s Certificate
  • - A Certificate of Intended Letting
  • - An Owner’s Certificate of occupation

Requests for straightforward adaptations i.e. stair lifts and ‘bath out, shower in’ works up to £30,000 can also be made via the ‘Simple Referral Form’ which is a shared form used across West Sussex by county council teams.

The DFG legislation requires that all valid and completed grant applications are to be determined no later than six months after a completed application is received by the Councils. The legislation also allows that the Councils may exercise their discretion to determine that grant monies will not be paid before a specified date (which cannot be later than 12 months after the date of application).

All the Councils in West Sussex aim to assess applications and make decisions well in advance of the statutory timescales.

2.3 Estimated Expenses

The amount which is potentially grant fundable is estimated by considering the following:

  • - Which of the relevant works are eligible for grant funding (the grant eligible works).
  • - The amount of the expenses to be properly incurred in the execution of the eligible works.
  • - The quote or the lowest quote that meets the specification will be the one approved. The grant applicant may select a higher value quote provided they are willing and able to pay the difference between their preferred contractor’s quote and the lowest, and that the works meet the applicants assessed needs.
  • - Costs attributable in relation to grant works, i.e. fees and charges.
  • - Extended warranties and servicing packages for lifts, wash-dry toilets, automatic doors etc.
  • - The grant is means tested and the amount of grant paid will be determined by a ‘test of resources’ which determines the applicant’s financial contribution to the works.
  • - For the mandatory disabled facility grant, the relevant person, along with their spouse or partner, is the subject of the means test.
  • - The relevant person is the person who will benefit from the proposed grant eligible works.

The mandatory grant will not exceed £30,000.

Applicants should be aware of ‘deprivation of capital’. Deprivation can mean that someone has purposely spent or given away their capital or failed to acquire it. The Councils will ensure that sufficient information is provided via bank statements, shares and savings records to demonstrate that this has not occurred.

Applicants who have a financial contribution to make (following the financial means test) towards the cost of the works, may be able to apply for further financial assistance under the councils Discretionary Grants (see Section 3).

Children up to the age of 16 and young people up to their 20th birthday who are in ordinary (non-advanced) full time education are exempt from the financial means test.

2.4 Commencement of Works

Work cannot commence before the grant is approved. Any works that started before the grant is approved may not be grant aided.

2.5 Minor works, repairs, cleaning and clearing.

If an adaptation (minor works or associated repair) is expected to cost below the relevant threshold (£2,000 as at 2023) it will generally be considered to be a Minor Adaptation and be undertaken via the countywide West Sussex service.

If the works are for cleaning and clearing and not expected to cost more than the relevant threshold (£3,000 as at 2023) they will generally be undertaken via the countywide West Sussex service.

2.6 Payment of Grant

Grant payments will be made when the grant eligible works are completed satisfactorily and on receipt of the contractor’s (or in the case of materials, supplier’s) invoice to the grant applicant. Council Officers may inspect the grant works during their progress and are able to make interim payments where appropriate.

Grant monies are legally awarded to the applicant and it is they who are technically responsible for paying their contractors. However, it is common practice for most grant applicants to request that payments are made directly to the contractor or agent on their behalf.

It is very important to note that the Councils’ Officers act on behalf of the Councils to ensure public funds are spent correctly and value for money is achieved.  Applicants will be made aware that Officers cannot act on their behalf.  The Councils therefore offer no guarantees as to the quality of workmanship and any disputes arising between applicants and their contractors are the applicant’s responsibility.

2.7 Conditions of Grant

The grant eligible works must be undertaken by the contractor(s) who provided the approved estimate(s) included in the application. Prior permission shall be obtained in writing from the Councils by the applicant before any change in contractor takes place. The use of a different contractor to one included in the application without permission may result in cancellation of the grant and/or repayment.

A grant approval can be re-determined where the eligible works cannot be completed without carrying out unforeseen further works.

Unforeseen works can only be considered for grant funding by the Councils where work has not started prior to being agreed as ‘unforeseen work’ by the Councils.

If applicants are required to contribute to the grant, this must be paid and satisfactory evidence provided that payment has been made, i.e. a signed and dated receipt, before the Councils will make any grant payment.

Where additional works are taking place in addition to grant aided works, but which are not grant aided (eg via a preferred/alternative scheme) and are being funded by the applicant, these works must be completed and paid for by the applicant before any grant payment is released regarding the grant eligible works.

Grant eligible works must meet all the professional recommendations regarding the disabled person and any notional / alternative scheme must have the prior written agreement of the recommending professional before grant funding is approved.

In the event of a breach of any of the conditions set by the Councils, repayment may be demanded from the applicant/owner/occupier/landlord/trustee/beneficiary (whichever is appropriate) in a sum up to or equal to the amount of the grant paid or any interim payment made.  Councils have the discretion either not to demand repayment, or to require payment of less than the full amount.

2.8 Local Land Charge

A Local Land Charge will be placed on the owner occupier’s adapted property where the DFG exceeds £5,000. The land charge will be limited to a maximum of £10,000 (mandatory scheme- statutory limit).  Repayment of the land charge will be required if the property is sold or transferred within 10 years of the certified date (subject to the consideration of certain criteria by the councils).

Where one is awarded, a Local Land Charge for the entire value of a discretionary ‘top up’ grant will be placed on the property.

The DFG will be registered as a Local Land Charge and will be enforced when the property is disposed of (whether by sale, assignment, transfer or otherwise) In this event the Councils may require repayment of the land charge before being removed from the local Land Charges Register.

The applicant is requested, from the certified date throughout the grant condition period of 10 years, to notify the relevant Council of their intention to sell or otherwise dispose of the property.  The applicant will need to provide the Council with any information reasonably requested by them in connection with such notification.

2.9 Agents

All applicants are encouraged, though this is not a mandatory requirement, to enlist the services of an agent/architect/architectural technician/surveyor to assist them in the process of application where the adaptation involves significant building alterations, complex or non-standard works. Fees incurred for such services are eligible for grant funding subject to the maximum amount of grant funding allowed.

If a qualified competent and experienced person or organisation (e.g. agent) is not employed to oversee the works, the relevant council will need to be assured that the proposed eligible works are achieving value for money, will be undertaken in a way that meets all the professional recommendations for the disabled person and constructed to an appropriate standard and quality. The Councils will need to be provided with all certification and permissions to demonstrate compliance with all statutory regulations, legislation etc including planning permission, building regulations etc.

2.10 Additional mandatory grant features

2.10.1 Extended warranties for lifts, wash/dry toilets etc (M1 on the policy summary Appendix 5.3) A five-year extended warranty and servicing contract to be provided for all relevant fixed equipment provided as part of adaptations. Registered Provider landlords are expected to maintain and service such items after the expiry of the supplier’s standard warranty.

2.10.2  Reduction in number of quotes required (M2)  To speed up the process and reduce the time taken obtaining quotes, generally only one written quote is required for grant eligible works estimated at under £10,000 (unless they are particularly complex/non-standard, or the relevant council wishes to check value for money). A minimum of two written quotes are required for grant eligible works of £10,000 or over.

Where a very specific unique fixture or fitting is required and there is genuinely no alternative, the Councils may rely on one quote only.

2.10.3  Consultation with the ‘welfare authority’ (West Sussex County Council) (M3) The Councils will consult with West Sussex County Council (WSCC) via email to advise that a referral has been received from other than a WSCC referrer, giving a 14 calendar day period for any response or comments..

2.10.4  Simple DFG referrals (M4) A revised and reduced process is in place for simple and straightforward requests up to £30,000 for example stair lifts and ‘bath out, shower in’. These requests are made on a simplified referral form.

3.0 Discretionary Disabled Facilities Grants

3.1 The Better Care Fund

In 2015 Government funding was pooled into a single budget for health and social care services to work more closely together – the Better Care Fund. The Fund provided an increase in funding for home adaptations and related opportunities to improve integration between health, social care and housing services, in particular to reduce hospital admissions and allow early hospital discharges.

The Better Care Fund contains a prescribed amount of DFG funding which is allocated to each district and borough every year. There is provision with the BCF regulations for agreement within the Councils to top slice funding for the provision of specific DFG related adaptations and services. The authorities in West Sussex have embraced this flexibility in creating this shared policy.

3.2 Discretionary Provision

Discretionary grants are subject to funds being available and mandatory grants will be prioritised first.  It is important to note that discretionary funding will only be available for eligible works,

Discretionary provision will be reviewed annually or to fit with the cycle of funding allocations. Given the unpredictable nature of the demand, costs and funding of these applications it is important to note that any discretionary grant may be withdrawn by the Councils at any time.

The discretionary policy elements are:

3.2.1 Standard Waiver of up to £5,000 Contribution Following the Means Test (D1 on the policy summary Appendix 5.3). The Statutory means test calculates a contribution which an applicant / relevant person is deemed able to afford by a comparison of their circumstances with their income. There is no consideration of outgoings and consequently the result of the means test can often seem unrealistic.

The first £5,000 of an assessed contribution (using the statutory means test) will be waived and the applicant will not be required to fund this portion of the contribution towards the works.

3.2.2 Exceptional Discretionary Waiver - help with assessed contribution following the Means Test (D2) This grant is specifically intended where there are particular difficulties or exceptional circumstances for the applicant / relevant person to pay the assessed contribution calculated by the statutory means test and where genuine impact and hardship would be caused.

Applicants in these circumstances will be given the opportunity to complete a financial statement of their income and outgoings with particular emphasis on outgoings which are linked to the relevant person’s disability. Such expenditure may include for example, extra heating, care costs, the need to fund overnight accommodation to support a child in hospital, transport to treatment etc.

The Councils will consider these applications on a case-by-case basis. The assessment is seeking to conclude whether the outcome of the statutory means test is unrealistic, particularly where the additional expenditure on disability makes it so.

For example, if the statutory means test concluded that the applicant should contribute the first £15,000 (e.g. by raising a loan) but their outgoings (including disability related expenditure) were in excess of their income, they had no savings and some debt – the outcome of the statutory means test would not be considered reasonable and the applicant may qualify for an Exceptional Discretionary Waiver of their calculated contribution.

The Scope report ‘Disability Price Tag’ 2019 provides a helpful insight and guidance on the additional expenditure and its impact for disabled people.

3.2.3 Funding In Excess of the Statutory Maximum Mandatory Grant of £40,000 also known as ‘Top Up Grant’ (D3) This grant is intended to assist in cases where a major adaptation has been identified as essential to meet the needs of the disabled person and once all other options such as moving home have been considered.

The grant is a maximum of £40,000 per property.

For this discretionary element, the financial means test will be on the owner or tenant of the property irrespective of whether they are considered the relevant person for the purposes of the mandatory Disabled Facility Grant application.

A local land charge for the full amount will be placed on the owner-occupied property for up to a ten-year period in addition to any mandatory grant local land charge (see section 2.8 above)

See also Appendix 5.3 Policy Summary document for more information on which grants are subject to a local land charge.

3.2.4 Moving Home Grant (D4) In some cases, moving home is more appropriate and cost effective to meet the needs of a disabled occupant, where it is not reasonable or practicable to adapt the existing home or where there is under or over occupation of the home.

A maximum of £10,000 will be considered at the Council’s discretion. The alternative property must either be already adapted or be adaptable at a reasonable cost.  The grant can be used towards the expenses involved in moving home for example estate agent’s fees, solicitor’s fees, stamp duty, removal costs, disconnection and reconnection costs etc. Supporting quotes and/or invoices will be required and the grant can only be paid once the applicant has exchanged contracts with a legally binding completion date or has a signed tenancy agreement.

The Moving Home Grant is not subject to the means test (test of resources) and is available to tenants and homeowners.

The proposed property must be confirmed as suitable by the relevant council’s private sector/housing standards team and be assessed to meet (or more easily adaptable) the needs of the disabled person or child by an appropriately qualified professional e.g. a West Sussex County Council Occupational Therapist.

3.2.5 Hospital Discharge Grant (D5) This grant of up to £5,000 is for disabled and vulnerable people being discharged home from hospital, care, residential placement, rehab or step-down beds and to prevent re-admission (or admission) to hospital/rehab/step down beds.

Eligibility applies for up to six weeks after discharge. The Hospital Discharge Grant is not means tested. The Hospital Discharge grant excludes people funded by NHS continuing healthcare and those being discharged into permanent residential or nursing care.

Works can include anything practical and reasonable which would allow the person to return home/stay at home.

3.2.6   Abortive Fees Grant (D6) A grant of up to £3,000 to cover reasonable professional fees and associated charges where professional services are engaged to advise on what works are required together with specialist technical e.g. structural engineer, surveyor to determine whether a DFG project is feasible. Fees are paid as part of the DFG if the works go ahead or paid via this abortive fees grant if the work cannot proceed.

It should be noted that the Abortive Fees Grant may not be approved where the Councils determine that the applicant has engaged the professional / specialist involved and then cancelled the works without justifiable cause.

Applicants cannot make more than one application for an Abortive Fees Grant in respect of the same grant eligible works.

3.2.7 Safe, Suitable and Warm Grant (D7) A grant of up to £10,000 to assist disabled people including those with a dementia or a visual impairment to make changes to their home environment which supports them to live independently for longer and with reduced risks. Also includes palliative/end of life situations and technological solutions such as door openers, curtain closers etc.

The grant is not available where a landlord, as part of their responsibilities, should be undertaking the works required.

This grant may also be offered in children’s cases where there is a shared living arrangement between parents/carers. The child or children’s main home (as determined by the payment of Child Benefit) is eligible for the mandatory DFG and the child or children’s other home can be considered for a Safe, Suitable and Warm Grant. In children’s cases only, the grant is not means tested.

Generally only one such grant will be permitted within a five-year period.

3.2.8    Council Tax Reduction to be considered a Passporting Benefit  (D8) Council tax reduction benefit will be considered as a passporting benefit for the purposes of the financial means test for all grants under this policy.

4.0 General points

4.1 Exceptions and Delegated Authority

This policy is not intended to fetter the discretion of any of the Councils. No policy can cover all circumstances and therefore each Council has the authority to deal with applications not meeting the requirements of the above policy and criteria. Grants outside of those set out above can be awarded at the discretion of the relevant Council’s Director/Head of Service Delivery. Such an award will only be made subject to the provision of the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) England and Wales Order 2002 and subsequent guidance.

This delegation may also include authorisation for a social housing allocation as an alternative option or as a consequence of multi-disciplinary team agreed solution.

4.2  Complaints Procedure

In the event that an applicant for a DFG whether mandatory or discretionary has cause for dissatisfaction with a service or decision they will be directed to follow the relevant Council’s formal complaints procedure.

4.3  Grant Funding or Part Funding Repaid By Applicants

Any grant monies repaid by applicants to the Councils for whatever reason (e.g. breach of grant conditions, ceasing occupation etc) will be paid into the DFG fund from which they originated in order that the funding can be recycled via further DFGs to other residents in need.

4.4  Equipment and Minor Adaptations first

The general principle is that equipment or a minor adaptation is tried first to assess whether it will meet the resident’s needs prior to application for a DFG. This will help to manage the demands made on the DFG budget.

4.5 Accessible kitchens

Specialist or non-standard integrated hobs and ovens can be included as part of the DFG and grant funded works if they are assessed as being an essential part of the adaptation to meet the resident’s specific health-based needs.

4.6 Continuing Health Care funding (CHC)

This is a complex area and each award of CHC is unique to the individual. Some CHC funding may make specific statements about the funding of home adaptations, so it is important for the relevant person (their family, carer or professional) to share the agreement when applying for assistance under this policy.  Every CHC situation will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

4.7  Equity release and other loans secured on owned properties

Where an owner has a mortgage or equity release product secured against their home, this may be subject to terms and conditions which requires the finance company’s permission to enable any works or alterations to the property. The Councils will need consent from the applicant to enable the Councils to liaise with the finance company as relevant to establish details such the date, terms and conditions, original value of the release and current value of the equity stake.

4.8 Review of policy

The policy will be reviewed at its expiration or as a consequence of changes to funding levels, the cycle of funding allocations or changes in legislation or statutory guidance.

The relevant officer for each of the Councils (Director or Head of Service level) will have delegated authority to make changes and amendments to the policy as agreed by the DFG Steering Group and/or the West Sussex Chief Executives Board.

5.0 Appendix

5.1 Research papers, Reference and Background docs, Legislation etc

Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act - 1996

Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act - 1996: Disabled Facilities Grants (conditions relating to approval or payment of grant) general consent -  2008

Regulatory Reform order 2002 (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales)

Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act - 1970

Care Act - 2014

Equality Act - 2010

HM Government - Advancing our Health Prevention in the 2020s (green paper) - July 2019

Scope - The Disability Price Tag 2019 Policy Report - 2019

MHCLG Integration and Better Care Fund DFG capital determination 2019 – 2020 [31/3710]

Integration and Better Care Fund –How to understand and measure impact - August 2019

Better Care Support Programme Integration and Better Care Fund - reducing delayed transfer of care: why not home? Why not today? Series - 2019

University of West of England for MHCLG/DHSC – Disabled Facilities Grants and other adaptations – External Review - 2018

The All-Party Parliamentary Group – enquiry into decent and accessible homes for older people - 2019

RCOT and Housing LIN - Adaptations without Delay - 2019 and updates

Foundations – Preparing a Policy under the Regulatory Reform order 2002 Housing Renewal - Dec 2016

HMCLG/DHSC - Better Care Fund 2019/20 policy framework - 2019

MDPI and Association for Dementia Studies – making homes more dementia-friendly through the use of Aids and Adaptations - 2019

House of Commons Library briefing paper – social care: forthcoming Green paper - 2019

British Red Cross – Home to the Unknown getting hospital discharge right - 2019

West Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board – Start Well, Live well, Age well Joint health and wellbeing strategy - 2019 – 2024

Centre for Ageing Better - North Norfolk District Councils in house home improvement agency – partnership approach to facilitate rapid and safe hospital discharge arrangements through HIAs - 2018

Centre for Ageing Better and University of West of England  -  The role of adaptations in improving later life - November 2017

Review of Local Government Ombudsman adaptation cases - 2020 – 2023

Public Health England – A Return on Investment Tool for the Assessment of Falls Prevention for Older People Living in the Community - 2018

NHS Long Term Plan - 2018

Equality and Human Rights Commission and Habinteg  -  Housing and disabled people : A toolkit for local authorities in England: Adaptations October - 2018

District Council Network and LGA – Shaping healthy places: Exploring the district Council role in health - 2019

Housing LIN case study 155 – A Strength based approach to delivering the Disabled Facilities Grant – Thurrock Council  - August 2019

Improving Health & Care through the home: A National memorandum of understanding - 2018

Oxfordshire Councils Home adaptations Guide to bringing independence to people with disabilities in privately owned or rented housing - December 2017

Eastbourne and Lewes DFG Policy Feb 2019

Brighton and Hove City Council  - Disabled Facilities Grant Housing Policy - 2017 -2020

Hertfordshire Shared Home Improvement Agency - 2016

WSCC  - Developing Compassionate communities’ approach to end-of-life care – workshop notes - July 2019

Wellbeing at Home: a study of the process and outcomes of home adaptations and reflections for future practice. Archadia RIBA Practice - Oct 2019

Foundations National Guidance - 2022

Description of terms

DFG  -  Disabled Facilities Grant

BCF -  Better Care Fund

WSCC -  West Sussex County Council

Appropriately qualified professional: For example an Occupational Therapist, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Rehabilitation Officer for Visually Impaired.

Passported benefits: A group of means tested benefits which automatically quality an applicant for a DFG.

Necessary and appropriate: The assessment of needs, and the remedies to meet those needs, made by a qualified person such as an OT or OTA or a trusted assessor.

Appropriate: ‘that the work will meet your needs in the most effective way’

Necessary: ‘that the work is only for what you will need to assist you’.

Reasonable and practical: The assessment of the property, and works requested, made by the District or Borough officer.

Reasonable: ‘that the work will meet your needs in the most cost effective way’

Practicable: ‘that the work is able to be done and does not damage or stop you from using other parts of the building’.

Appendix 5.2

West Sussex Disabled Facilities Grant Policy 2024 – 2028: Summary

Purpose of project…… to help me to live in my own home – easily and with dignity with the right adaptation when I need it.

Please note; this table is best viewed on a desktop browser and additional columns may not appear correctly on mobile devices.

1.  Description2.Eligibility criteria & conditions3.Subject to means test4.Amount available5.Charge on property/local land charges


Discretionary elements



Standard waiver of up to £5,000 contribution following means test

Eligible for DFGYes

Up to £5,000 of first £5,000 of assessed contribution.



Exceptional Discretionary Waiver - help with assessed contribution following the means test.

Eligible for DFG

This grant is for where there are particular difficulty/exceptional circumstances paying an assessed contribution following the statutory means test. Applicants will be given the opportunity to complete a financial statement of their income and outgoings with particular emphasis to the relevant person’s care costs, transport to treatment, overnight accommodation for parents with children in hospital etc.

This assessment is based on, or normally undertaken via, the WSCC financial assessment form.

The Councils will consider applications on a case-by-case basis

Yes – linked to D1 first £5,000 of contribution to be waived.

No maximum



Funding in excess of current maximum mandatory grant of £30,000 also known as a ‘Top up grant’.

Eligible for DFG

Intended for Major adaptations which have been identified as essential to meet the disabled person and their family’s needs & once all other options (such as moving) have been considered.

Yes (see link to D1 re first £5000 of contribution to be waived and D2 help with assessed contribution).

Up to a maximum of £40,000 per property

Yes - a charge for the full amount is placed on owner occupied property for a 10 year period.

Charges will not apply to Registered Housing Provider (RHP) or privately rented property. (This approach is consistent with the DFG Land Charge powers that were introduced in 2008).



Moving Home Grant

Eligible for DFG

To assist when moving to more suitable accommodation is the more affordable option or where it is not reasonable or practicable to adapt the property to meet the disabled person’s assessed needs or the property is under/over occupied.

The proposed property must be confirmed as suitable by the Private Sector / Housing Standards Teams and be assessed to meet the needs (or more easily adaptable to do so) of the disabled person by a suitably qualified professional e.g. a West Sussex OT.

Payment can be made only once contracts have been exchanged (owner occupiers) or tenancy has commenced (rented)


Maximum of £10,000 to cover the costs arising from moving home.No 


Hospital Discharge Grants

Available to disabled people needing to be discharged home from hospital, rehab or step-down beds or from other temporary accommodation and/or to prevent re-admission (or admission) to hospital. Eligible for up to 6 weeks after discharge.

Referrals accepted from adult social care or hospital OT / physiotherapists , rehabilitation/intermediate care teams, discharge coordinator, or Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Excludes packages of care funded by NHS continuing healthcare

Works to include anything reasonable which would allow the person to return home/stay at home.

NB works up to the level for cleaning and clearing (currently £3,000) and works up to the level for minor adapts and repairs (currently £2,000) to go through the West Sussex County Council countywide services which are funded by the districts and boroughs


Maximum of £5000.




Abortive DFG Fees Grant

Eligible for DFG.

To cover reasonable professional fees and associated charges where services engaged to advise on what works are required and specialist technical e.g.  Structural Engineer fees, surveyor fees or similar to determine if a DFG project is feasible.


Maximum of £3,000.No 


Safe, Suitable and Warm homes grant.

Eligible for DFG.

Assists disabled people, including those with dementia or a visual impairment to improve their home environment to support them to live in their own home for longer and with reduced risk. Includes palliative care situations. Can also include tech solutions.

NB works up to the level for cleaning and clearing (currently £3,000) and works up to the level for minor adapts and repairs (currently £2,000) to go through the West Sussex CC services.

Yes - first

£5,000 of contribution to be waived.

Maximum of £10,000.


Housing Associations and private landlords will be required to maintain their properties and carry out necessary repairs to adaptations as per their responsibilities as a social landlord.


Council Tax Reduction to be considered a DFG passport benefit.

Eligible for DFG.

Regard Council Tax Reduction as a passporting benefit for all grants under this policy.



Procedural elements



Extended warranties for lifts, and servicing for, was dry toilets etc.

Eligible for a DFG

A five-year extended warranty and servicing contract to be provided for all relevant fixed equipment provided as part of adaptations. Registered Provider landlords are expected to maintain and service such items after the expiry of the supplier’s standard warranty.



Reduction in number of quotes.

Eligible for DFG

Only one quote is generally required for works estimated at under £10,000 unless particularly complex or non-standard or where it is felt necessary to demonstrate best value

N/AN/AN/AThis is particularly important aspects for our relationship with contractors who do not have the capacity to provide multiple quotes. It is also a main plank of the approach to speeding up the process of a DFG.


Consultation with county council.

For mandatory DFG only - District & Boroughs must consult the ‘welfare authority’ i.e. West Sussex County Council.

Email to be sent to WSCC to notify that a referral has been received from other than a WSCC referrer giving a 14 calendar day period for any comments.



Simple referrals.

A simple referral form and guidance notes have been agreed for use on simple adaptations such as stairlifts and ‘bath out shower in’.

N/AUp to £30,000.N/aAny queries by the receiving districts and boroughs can be fast tracked to the OT team for clarification.
Other general points.     


Local land charges

For mandatory grants up to statutory maximum and max value of discretionary top up grant (see D3) for a period of up to ten years.N/A

Up to £10,000 mandatory scheme

Full amount of top up discretionary grant amount



Disabled Facilities Grants repaid by applicants to be repaid into the Councils DFG budget for reuse.

Grants repaid to be returned to the Council DFG budget from which they were funded.



Applicants to follow the respective Council’s Formal Complaints procedure in cases where applicant unhappy with a service or decision.



Equipment first is the general principle.

OT/OTA to make the most appropriate recommendation for the resident.

N/AN/AN/ADFG eligible fixtures and fittings which are hardwired, fixed or plumbed in and not temporary in nature or easily removed.


Accessible Kitchens.

Eligible for DFG

Specialist or non-standard integrated hobs and ovens can be included as part of the DFG and grant funded works if they are assessed as being an essential part of the adaptation to meet the disabled person’s needs.



Combining grants

It is possible to combine eligible grants but not have multiples of the same grant    


WSCC top up funding

Current policy up to £5k as a grant for non-homeowners. No upper limit subject to business case and approval for homeowners. Top up will be a loan placed as a charge on the property.

   All scheme costs and design must be agreed before an application for top up can be made

For any queries, please contact our team on 01403 215641 or by emailing