THE MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE ASSOCIATION in Wales has welcomed the news that from April, the Welsh Government will remove means testing for small and medium Disabled Facilities Grants. The grants help disabled people who need to make adaptations to their homes.

Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government, published a written statement on 10 March 2021, saying: “We know that reducing barriers so disabled people can maintain their independence, safety and good health allows them to continue to live at home with dignity, and it also reduces pressures on our health and social care services. From April 2021 it will be simpler for disabled people to get help with small and medium sized adaptations to their homes as we take measures to remove the means test from small and medium Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG).

“DFGs are the main source of help for disabled people in the great majority of households in Wales who are owner occupiers or who live in in private rented accommodation. This is the main way in which they get help with the most common types of adaptations, such as stair lifts, ramps and downstairs toilet and washing facilities.

“Our most recent data shows us that small and medium sized adaptations made up the vast majority of DFGs – 1,507 small and 2,214 medium adaptations, compared with just 269 large adaptations. If we remove the means test, independent research calculates it would cost local government in Wales an additional £238,000, and estimates each local authority would save £6,000-£10,000 in annual administration costs. This research by the Wales Centre for Public Policy has been published on their website today.

“Local authorities are under statutory duties to provide DFGs to eligible disabled people and this will not change. However, they can [make] use of powers under the Regulatory Reform Order 2002 to make grants without applying a means test. For this reason, I am increasing the Enable grant to local authorities from April 2021 by £400,000, to £4.4 million. This additional grant can be used to meet the capital pressures and address any potential bottlenecks as a result of increased demand. I feel confident that working together with local authorities, we can continue to improve access to adaptations for those who need them, as well as reduce waiting times.

* Read the full statement here.

* Source: Welsh Government