How the DFG is used now
Government investment in the DFG has more than doubled over recent years. However, local authorities have reduced the amount of additional funding that they contribute. This has meant the number of homes being adapted has not significantly increased (although numbers for 2017/18 are not yet available).
Nearly two-thirds of DFG applications are for older people, just over a quarter for working age adults and a small but growing minority for disabled children and young people.
Nearly 60% of applications are made by owner-occupiers, not surprisingly as most older people own their own home. A third of applications are made by tenants of housing associations, with only 8% from private tenants, although the numbers of disabled tenants are now similar in each tenure. This highlights a clear disparity between the ability of disabled private and social tenants to adapt their home, a situation which is particularly acute in London. Adaptations for council house tenants are funded entirely separately, not through the DFG.
Nearly 9 out of every 10 applications relate to physical disabilities and 90% of adaptations provided are either level access showers, stair lifts or ramps. The average cost is around £9,000 but most work is under £5,000. This varies by region, with the highest costs in London and the lowest in the North East. Of the people who are assessed as needing an adaptation, around a third drop out along the way, usually due to financial reasons.