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Adaptations and independent living

We offer advice and support to all those living with a disability to enable them to live safely and independently at home.

The East Suffolk Independent Living Agency (ES-ILA) deals with all applications for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) in East Suffolk. To be eligible for a DFG you need to have had an assessment by an Occupational Therapist (OT). All OT assessments are currently being carried out by OTs working for the Orbit Living team. To register for an assessment please contact the Orbit Living Team by email at suffolkhia@orbit.org.uk or by phone on 0800 121 7711.

East Suffolk Council has adopted a policy to simplify the DFG process for urgent works that are relatively simple to specify.

Covid-19 policy

Whilst we are dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, we are able to fast track applications to allow people to be discharged from hospital to a safe home, to reduce the likelihood of an admission (falls prevention) and for palliative cases. The maximum grant is £10,000 and is not subject to any means test. The recommended works must be supported by a health or care practitioner.

Other fast track grants

Other fast track cases below £5,000 are available, where the applicant is in receipt of a means tested benefit or is on a low income (see table below) and has capital of less than £10,000:

  • General adaptations e.g. changing bathrooms into wet rooms with a flush floor shower, installing stair-lifts or ramping entrances.
  • Providing adequate heating at a cost below £5,000 where the condition suffered by the applicant is likely to be made worse by living in a cold home.
  • Terminally ill - adaptations to enable them to remain at home longer.
  • Out of hospital - unrelated to Covid 19
Qualifying means-tested benefitsLow incomeCapital and savings
  • Income Support
  • Income related Employment Support Allowance
  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit – Guarantee element
  • Pension Credit – Savings element
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit (income less than £16,190)
  • Child tax Credit (income less than £16,190)
  • Council Tax Reduction (not single person reduction)
For applicant and any partner of joint income £20,000 per annum or less (gross)

For single applicants, sole income £17,000 per annum or less (gross)

And additional £2,500 per annum (gross) for each dependent child
(excluding the property to be adapted)

Less than £10,000 per applicant/partner.

Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants

Most other adaptations will fall under the mandatory works which cover the following adaptations:

  • Facilitating access into and around the dwelling.
  • Making the dwelling safe.
  • Facilitating access into the principal family room and to a bedroom.
  • Facilitating access to a toilet and washing facilities and kitchen facilities.
  • Improved heating and access to controls for power, heat and light.

These grants will be subject to a test of financial resources to determine if the resident should contribute towards the works. Enquiries about means testing should be directed to East Suffolk Independent Living by email at independent.living@eastsuffolk.gov.uk or by phone on 0300 003 0231.

Service support

ES-ILA will process all Covid-19 and fast track applications and charges a 10% fee to support this work

There are currently 3 options open to clients to make a mandatory application:

  1. DIY application - suitable for straightforward adaptations e.g. fitting of a stair-lift.

    You will need to complete the application form, obtain all necessary supporting paperwork (financial papers and various consents), obtain the estimates, submit the application and then arrange the works.

    ES-ILA will charge a fixed fee of £145 to carry out a pre-application check but will otherwise be unable to assist you with any aspect of the application and works.

    Advantages - may be quicker for simple works.

  2. Technical support only.

    Application forms completed by client (suitable if in receipt of a means tested /passport benefit) ES-ILA will produce a schedule of works for your chosen contractors to price up. The job would be signed off by our technical officer. The fee for this would be 10% of the cost of the works, plus the cost of any architects drawings. This is a grant eligible amount so will be added onto the grant.

    Advantages - may be quicker for simple works, your choice of contractor.

  3. Full Agency support.

    ES-ILA will help you with all aspects of the application, including completing the forms; preparing the schedule and plans; liaising with the builders, Building Control, other statutory bodies; dealing with any unforeseen works or snagging; seeing the works through to completion; organising payment and ensuring guarantees and warranties are in place. You will be allocated a caseworker who will be your support throughout the process. The fee for this service is 15% of the cost of the works but will not cost you anymore as it will be added to the grant unless the costs of the works exceeds the maximum grant of £30,000.

    Advantages - peace of mind, experienced professional staff supporting you, knowledge of the grant forms and supporting evidence required, single caseworker to keep communication simple and effective, funded in nearly all cases by the grant.