Adapting a home to make it easier for someone with mobility problems to live in can be an expensive task. Many adaptations have to be tailored to suit the specific mobility needs of the people living in the home and using its facilities. This can make the cost quite high.
Bathrooms in particular can be an expensive part of the adaptations so it is a good idea to investigate sources of funding.
Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)
Some people may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) through their local authority, which can fund home improvements for disabled people, including the bathroom. However, the DFG is means tested and the local authority will take into account your income and savings when deciding if you are eligible or not. Like many means tested benefits, you may find a small pot of savings and a small but adequate income excludes you from any assistance.
The process can take some months, even as long as a year, before you find out if you will receive anything. If you are eligible, some local authorities will use their own contractor for the works or offer onerous payment terms to contractors invited to tender for the project. In practice, good contractors tend to work with privately funded customers who can abide by the contractor’s payment terms.
Many people will find they are not eligible for a grant and will have to consider private sources of funding. The obvious source of private funding is income or savings or a combination of both. Perhaps cutting back some areas of spending or skipping a holiday this year will help free some extra money up from one’s regular income.
Family may also be able to chip in with some financial help. Though it can be difficult to ask one’s relatives for assistance, many are acutely aware of their loved one’s disability and will wish to help in any way they can.
Alternatively a personal loan may work out as a cost effective solution and allow the adaptation to go ahead sooner.
For example, every £1000 borrowed over 3 years (36 months) at 7.5% APR works out at a repayment of approx £31 per month. Be sure to shop around and take advice form an independent financial advisor.
On a similar theme, equity release, where cash is “unlocked” from the home, may be an alternative. However, this is a complex area to get involved with and should not be entered into lightly. Make sure you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for as there will be no going back. Take advice from a truly independent financial advisor, who will look after you, rather than just try to sell you any old equity release scheme just because it pays them a good commission.
Be sure to do your own research into this area and do not be swayed by well marketed websites promoting nothing but positives as there are downsides to equity release – try searching “equity release nightmare” on the internet.
Another option, is to ensure you are receiving all the state benefits you are eligible for. These can help top up your income making paying for bathroom alterations a little easier. If you’d like help in this area, look into Grey Matters, run by Caroline Romero, see their website here: http://www.grey-matters-consultancy.com/
Lastly, make sure you are using your VAT reliefs as many products for disabled people are VAT exempt. You will have to complete a simple self certified form, confirming your chronic illness or disability. Bathroom adaptations can be VAT exempt as well as things like rise recline chairs, mobility scooters, etc. The exemption applies at point of sale and cannot be claimed back from HMRC. You can find out more about this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419404/Disabled_Helpsheet__Construction_-final__2_.pdf
If you’re interested in a bathroom that is easier to access and built around your needs, and you’ve got your funding all sorted out, why not get in touch with Absolute Mobility who are specialists in mobility bathing? Just call 0800 29 22 110 .22 January,2018