Home Improvements: Loans and Grants for the Disabled

Michelle Tuvey Michelle Tuvey | Loan Underwriter

Making improvements to a home to accommodate someone who is disabled should be a relatively straightforward thing to do. That's not always the case, though. Doing things like widening doorways and adding wheelchair ramps cost a lot of money that families don't necessarily have. We want you to know that if you are a disabled person in need of financing for home improvements, loans and grants can be combined to accomplish what needs to be done.

Loans for home improvement are usually secured loans taken out based on equity. Property owners can actually use their equity as a financing tool to make life on a disabled loved one somewhat better. But depending on the kinds of renovations that are needed, a secured loan may not be enough. That's when it's time to look to the local council to see if there are any disabled facilities grants (DFGs).

How the Grants Work

DFGs are government grants made available to eligible property owners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the equivalent assistance is known as the Equipment and Adaptations grant. Please get in touch with your local authorities for more information on assistance in Scotland. 

As for the DFGs, these are available at different levels, depending on where you live:

  • England ?? grants of up to £30,000
  • Wales ?? grants of up to £36,000
  • Northern Ireland ?? grants of up to £25,000.

Whether the property owner is eligible or not depends on household income and the level of household savings in excess of £6,000. However, this only applies to adults. Grants are available for children under the age of 18 without any consideration of parental income.

Local councils administer the grants based on their own rules. For example, a property owner may receive grant money in a number of instalments coinciding with reaching certain work milestones, or the local council may withhold payment until the work is completed. In nearly every case, the local council will have to sign off on the work to show they are satisfied before payment is made.

Applying for Secured Loans

Experts suggest that property owners in need of financing for disability accommodations start with the government grants. In cases where those grants cover the entire cost of home improvements, there's nothing else to do. Where government grant money is not enough, secured loans can easily make up the difference.

Let us assume you want to make improvements that will cost roughly £45,000. You are eligible for a £30,000 grant in England, leaving you with £15,000 to finance on your own. You would only need £30,000 in equity and a secured loan with an LTV of 50% to come up with your share of the money.

We already know that for costly home improvements, loans obtained by way of equity are one of the best financing tools available. Combining secured loans with government grants makes it very possible for property owners who could not otherwise afford it to make much-needed home improvements to accommodate disabled family members.

Do Your Homework

We want to offer you one word of caution as we close out this post: do your homework before you agree to any kind of financing. There's not much to the DFGs programme; you can find most of the information you need to make a decision online. Secured loans are another story. Be sure to take the time to shop around for secured loans before deciding on a deal. Shopping around exposes you to the maximum number of offers and helps ensure that you get the best deal possible.

Sources:

GOV.UK ?? https://www.gov.uk/disabled-facilities-grants/overview

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