If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant from your local council. This type of grant is paid for by the government and you will need to apply through your local council to find out how much help you might get. A Disabled Facilities Grant can be used towards the cost of various home adaptations that a disabled person might need. It can be awarded for things such walk-in baths, wider doorways and ramps as well as stairlifts.
It is important to know that you may not qualify for a grant at all and any grant offered may not cover the full cost of installing a stairlift. You may still need to contribute towards the cost yourself. This is because Disabled Facilities Grants are means-tested. This means the council will take into account your household income and any household savings over £6000 before making a decision.
The maximum amount you could receive depends on which country you live in. People in England can get up to £30,000, in Wales up to £36,000 and in Northern Ireland up to £25,000.
If you think you may be able to get a grant from your council, you will need to wait for them to approve your application before you get your stairlift fitted. Your council will tell you when and how you will be paid the grant. The council may pay the invoice directly or give you a cheque to pass on to the stairlift company.
There are certain criteria to be met before a council will approve a grant. For instance, you (or the person applying for the grant) must plan to live in the house for the foreseeable future, which is usually the next five years. You can apply if you’re disabled and either own your own home or are a tenant. The council will assess whether installing a stairlift is “necessary and appropriate” for your needs. The work required needs to be considered “reasonable” and must be able to be carried out given the condition of the property.
You will need to contact your council to find out exactly what the process is for applying in your local area. An occupational therapist will probably visit your home to assess your needs and discuss what adaptations you would like to make. The council will also be able to give you an idea of the timescale involved. Be aware that in some cases it can take up to six months from application to receive a decision.