Aids and Adaptations
What help is available?
A wide range of help is available including the installation of ramps, grab rails, mopstick handrails to stairs, lever taps, level access showers, widening of paths, dropping of kerbs, provision of stair-lifts and ceiling hoists.
Other specialist services include the installation of alarms for people with sight and sound impairment and improving accessibility within the property by adjusting the height of light switches, power sockets and by making alterations to kitchen areas.
We may also assist you with a move to more suitable accommodation, subject to need and availability. This might be because your current home is not suitable for the service or adaptations you need.
How can you apply?
We usually only consider applications made by your occupational therapist (OT), regardless of the cost of the service or adaptation you need. Your OT will visit you at home to assess the help that you need and submit the application to us. Some very minor adaptations can be carried out without the need for an OT visit and our Adaptions Project Officer can advise on these.
Once the form is received, the application will be prioritised according to your needs and the Project Officer will estimate the cost of the work involved. This will determine how your application is processed. If the cost is less than £3,000 we will manage the application.
If it exceeds £3,000, your application will be controlled by the local authority who will consider if you are eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant.
Occupational therapists specialise in particular needs, so your initial approach should be made in writing to the Occupational Therapist Manager, Central Bedfordshire Council, Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5TQ, telephone 0300 300 8050.
How are the costs met? – Under £3,000
Where the cost of the service or adaptation is less than £3,000, the work will be controlled by us (unless a stair lift or hoist is required) and completed by either a member of the our handyman team or by one of our contractors. Requests will be given a priority from the OT and the cost will be met by us, subject to the availability of funds.
Many of the requests that fall within this category will be of a minor nature or will involve the use of standard items, such as handrails, and will not usually require a home visit from us prior to the commencement of the work. Occasionally a visit may be made following completion.
If the work required is more complex then a visit to your home may be needed. This allows it to be assessed and discussed, so that we are aware of your needs and can provide a clear picture to be of what is needed to the contractor.
How are the costs met? – Between £3,000 and £30,000
Where the cost of the service or adaptation is over £3,000, we will have no control over your application. However, we will usually visit (often with the OT) to assess the suitability of the property and surrounding facilities. An application will then be submitted to the local authority for consideration of a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). Your application may be submitted by either your occupational therapist or by us.
As these requests are likely to be more complex, your application will take longer to complete than minor alterations that would be completed by us. This is because other applications may need to be approved before work can begin or progress. These could include planning permission, highways approval or building regulation approval.
The maximum DFG is £30,000 but you must be aware that DFGs are means tested and administered by the local authority in accordance with set guidelines. If your grant is reduced because of means testing or because the work cost is more than £30,000, we will not be able to help towards the shortfall.
The type of service or adaptation within this category could include level access showers, extensive door widening, through-floor lifts, stairlifts, structural alterations and extensions.
If your request for help includes any equipment that requires regular servicing or maintenance, for example, through-floor lifts, stair lifts and ceiling hoists, you should be aware that you will be responsible for ensuring that this work is carried out after the initial guarantee period expires.
You can either arrange your own service or maintenance cover or take up an option that is usually provided by the installing company. If you are in receipt of certain Social Security benefits, the council may be able to arrange suitable cover, but you should discuss this with your OT when they visit.