England axes means test for alterations

England has followed Northern Ireland and Wales in abolishing the means test for families applying for a grant to adapt their homes for disabled children.

Housing minister Baroness Andrews said last week that families would be able to apply for the maximum £25,000 available under the disabled facilities grant from next month without being means tested.

Clare Tickell, chief executive of children’s charity NCH, said the decision would “greatly improve the quality of life for many families”.

The announcement came after intensive lobbying from campaigners. The means test ended in Northern Ireland, where the maximum grant is also £25,000, in February 2004, and six months ago the Welsh assembly government said it would follow. Families can apply for up £30,000 in Wales, while a separate system exists in Scotland.

The grant enables families to make adaptations, such as access ramps and extensions, to their homes.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which runs the disabled facilities grant programme in England, is increasing its budget for the scheme from £104m in 2005-6 to £121m in the next two years.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.