Only three-in-five applications for disability adaptation grants accepted by council

Mobility equipment firm says disabled people face “significant challenges” obtaining cash for home improvements from Enfield Council, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Wheelchair user (credit CDC via Unsplash)
credit CDC via Unsplash

Enfield has the lowest acceptance rate for disabled facilities grants in London, according to new research.

Figures show only 62% of applications for the grants, which are designed to fund a wide range of home adaptations for people with disabilities, were accepted by the council during the last five years.

It is the lowest of the ten London authorities that responded to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests within the 20 working day deadline. In contrast, Ealing Council had a 100% approval rate, while the average across the capital was 84%.

Disabled facilities grants are administered and paid by council housing departments and are used to fund adaptations costing more than £1,000. The funding, which is means-tested, can be used to make improvements such as extensions, stairlifts and heating controls.

Data compiled by mobility equipment firm Oak Tree Mobility, using responses to its FOI requests, show that in Enfield only 781 out of 1,242 applications for the grants were accepted by the council during the last five years.

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The company said this showed applicants faced “significant challenges” in gaining approval from Enfield Council.

It took the civic centre an average of 16 days to award grant funding from the date it received an application.

The figures show that during the last five years London awarded £70.2million in disability facilities grants – the highest amount of any region in the UK. Enfield dished out more than £9million – the third-highest amount of the London councils that responded.

Per application, however, it awarded £11,602.59, putting it in second place behind Croydon.

Enfield Council was approached for comment.

Update (29th August):

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “Enfield Council welcomes and actively encourages residents who would like to apply for disabled facilities grants to get in touch. We provide an average of £11,602 per grant, much higher than most other London boroughs.

“The figures quoted for Enfield Council is the number of enquiries received, not applications submitted, between 2018 and 2023. Residents who make initial enquiries do not always follow up with applications, usually because of a change in personal circumstance.”

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