Disabled Facilities Grant
You might need to adapt your home to meet the needs of your child. For example, if your child needs a downstairs bedroom because it’s too difficult to lift them upstairs, or if doors need widening for wheelchair access.
The grant is made by your local authority
In England this grant can be up to £30,000.
In Wales this grant can be up to £36,000
In Northern Ireland this grant can be up to £25,000
Disabled facility grants are not available in Scotland.
An occupational therapist will visit your home and make an assessment and recommend the types of adaptations your child needs.
The grant is not means tested for children under 19.
Some families have found OTs have insisted on one set of adaptations when they were expecting another. For example, they were hoping to convert a garage into a downstairs bedroom but the OT insisted their authority would only pay for a stair lift for the child.
Council Tax Reduction
If you use a room specifically to ‘meet the needs of the disabled person’ you might qualify for a council tax reduction.
Priority Services Register
Many energy suppliers have a Priority Services Register (PSR) so that you can get extra help and support with your energy supply if you have a disability:
If you are on the PSR you can get
- Advance notice if your supply is going to be interrupted.
- Priority reconnection if your supply is interrupted
- Alternative facilities for cooking and heating if your supply is interrupted
- Extra help to use your meter or appliances
- Free annual gas safety checks
- Free advice on being more energy efficient
- Bills sent to a relative, carer or friend to help you check them
Suppliers are also prohibited from disconnecting premises occupied by a customer eligible for the PSR during the winter months (1 October – 31 March)
Contact your supplier to see if you’re eligible to sign up to the PSR.
For more information on the priority services register visit the Citizens Advice Bureau https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-help-paying-your-bills/priority-services-register-for-older-and-disabled-people/
The Energy UK Safety Net scheme
If your energy supplier has signed up to the Energy UK Safety Net scheme, they have pledged to never knowingly disconnect a vulnerable customer at any time of the year.
“A customer is vulnerable if for reasons of age, health, disability or severe financial insecurity, they are unable to safeguard their personal welfare or the personal welfare of other members of the household.”
For more information on the Energy UK Safety Net scheme visit https://www.energy-uk.org.uk/files/docs/Disconnection_policy/energy-uk-safety_net-17-april-2014.pdf
Warm Home Discount
You can qualify for a warm home discount if on 10 July 2016
- Your energy supplier was part of the scheme
- You or your partner’s name was on the bill
You may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if you don’t qualify because you don’t get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but:
- you’re on a low income
- you get certain means-tested benefits
Check with your supplier to see if you’re eligible and how to apply.
If you qualify, the warm home discount will appear as a credit on your bill.
To see a list of which suppliers are part of the scheme https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme/eligibility and for more information visit https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme/what-youll-get
The Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) is there to help everyone in Scotland who needs help with their energy costs.
To find out what support and to get advice you can get call 0800 808 2282
The Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest has been set up to provide households on lower incomes with access to a range of advice and support to help them reduce their energy bills.
To find out all about the support that the scheme provides, including the criteria eligibility criteria for free home energy improvements visit http://www.nestwales.org.uk/ or call 0808 808 2244.
If you are struggling to pay your fuel bills and keep warm call the Home Heat helpline on 0800 33 66 99.
Your water company must provide a constant supply of water. Occasionally, the service may be interrupted for repairs or because of an emergency such as a burst main water pipe. When this happens, you may be entitled to compensation.
Your water company must take reasonable steps as soon as possible to let you know:
- where you can get an alternative water supply
- when it plans to restore the supply
- a telephone number where you can get more information.
If you need a constant water supply for medical reasons, or you think you will need help if the supply goes off, you should talk to your water company. All companies keep a register of customers who may need extra help during supply interruptions.
If you are unsure which water company supplies your area visit: http://ccwater.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/41
Watersure is a scheme which helps some people with their water bills. To apply for the scheme, you must be on benefits and need to use a lot of water either for medical reasons or because your household has a certain number of school-age children. You also need to be on a water meter or be waiting to have one installed.
If you get your water from Welsh Water you’re covered by WaterSure Wales, which works in exactly the same way as the English scheme.
To qualify for Watersure you need to:
- be on a water meter or have applied for one and be waiting for it to be installed, or be paying an assessed charge because it’s not possible to fit a meter at your property
- be on certain benefits
- have a high essential use of water
The benefits you need to be on depends on your supplier. You should check which benefits they cover. Most suppliers offer this scheme if either you or someone in your household get one of the following benefits:
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- income-related Employment And Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit awarded at a rate higher than the family element.
How to apply
You can apply for Watersure by filling out a form from your water company. You will need to supply evidence that you qualify, such as a copy of your awards notice for a benefit.
You won’t need to supply medical evidence if your medical condition is on the list of conditions which automatically qualify. These are:
- desquamation (flaky skin disease)
- weeping skin disease (eczema, psoriasis or varicose ulceration)
- abdominal stomas
- renal failure requiring dialysis at home – although you won’t qualify for Watersure if you’re
- already getting a contribution to your water costs from the NHS
- Crohn’s disease
- ulcerative colitis.
However, if you have another condition which isn’t on this list, you will need to provide evidence from your doctor, including how the condition is treated and the effect it has on how much water you use.
You will also need a doctor’s certificate, which you have to pay for.
For more information on the Watersure schme visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/water/water-supply/problems-with-paying-your-water-bill/watersure-scheme-help-with-paying-water-bills/
If you’re struggling to pay your water bills and don’t qualify for Watersure, there are other schemes which may be able to help. You can find more information on the Water UK website at www.water.org.uk