Pressure mounts in England as Wales abolishes income test for disability grant

Families in Wales will no longer be expected to pay towards the
cost of adapting their homes for their disabled children, the Welsh
Assembly announced last week.

Social justice and regeneration minister Edwina Hart said that
means testing for families applying for disabled facilities grants
would be scrapped from the autumn.

She said: “Parents with children who have disabilities
already face many day to day challenges. In simplifying the system,
we hope to make one aspect of their lives easier and level the
playing field for all, regardless of income.”

Hart took the decision after accepting many of the
recommendations of a review of housing adaptations, including
disabled facilities grants, completed in March.

The move comes just over a year after the same grant was
abolished in Northern Ireland and will increase pressure on
Westminster to follow suit.

Last year, the government agreed to carry out a
“fundamental review” of how the grant is administered
in England and government officials and those involved in
delivering housing adaptations are due to report back this month
with recommendations.

A coalition of charities that has been campaigning to reform the
grant said it would be “inconceivable” for families
applying for it to end up being penalised on the basis of where
they lived.

“The means test must now be abolished in England and we
will be fighting to ensure that this issue is a priority for
whichever party has the keys to 10 Downing Street on 6 May,”
a coalition spokesperson said.

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